Letters to the Editor

Haugen protects our Capron Fund

My strong support goes to Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen’s re-election.

I worked for the Island County Road Department for 25 years, 16 as the county engineer. When I first was employed in that capacity, about 30 percent of Road Department budget was financed from a provision stipulated in the Revised Code of Washington, RCW 46.68.080 and RCW 47.17.990 (Capron Act).

This act provided a refund of 50 percent of Island County’s gas tax and vehicle registration fees collected in Island County. The early fathers of the gas tax distribution formula recognized that island counties such as San Juan and Island County had few if any state roads within them.

This Capron Act extra source of revenue is not provided to any of the other 37 counties in the state. So there is no sympathy from the other counties in keeping the Capron Act active. In fact there are near annual covert attempts to repeal this Capron Act, by trying to slip in an anonymous bill simply titled “Repeal RCW 46.68.080.”

As an early member, and now the chair of the Washington State Transportation Committee, Senator Mary Margaret Haugen has been extremely valiant and successful in keeping the Capron Act from being repealed. Loss of this powerful Washington State Transportation Committee position to one who is too new, unaware, ineffective or not sympathetic will quickly result in the repeal of the Capron Act.

Such a repeal will have a huge adverse impact on all of the Island County Road Fund budgets. This not only includes the Island County Road Fund share of approximately 82 percent of the Capron Funds but it will also include the city of Oak Harbor share of approximately 14 percent; the Coupeville share of 2 percent and the Langley share of 2 percent. While the cities’ percentage share of the total Capron amount seems small, it still represents a significant share of their respective Road Fund budgets.

When I retired from the county in 2000, the Capron Act provided a lower percent of the total road budget of about 25 percent, but still that remains a significant amount! A 25 percent reduction would surely cause a reduction in road repair projects and of employees funded by road funds. The road crew employees and the supporting office and engineer staff are great people dedicated toward keeping our roads maintained. They are also like family to me.

I support Sen. Mary Margaret even though she is of the opposite party. She is the effective politician for Island County needs.

I have been an Island County resident since February 1972.

Roy L. Allen, P.E.

Oak Harbor

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