Sparks flew at a regional transportation meeting last week when Island County commissioners demanded that Skagit County mayors decide whether they wanted to continue in the two-county organization.
“I understand I sound adversarial; I’m having a hard time with this process too,” said Island County Commissioner Jill Johnson.
Elected officials from both counties have been evaluating the future of the Skagit-Island Regional Transportation Planning Organization, or SIRTPO, for several months.
Citing frustration with decision making redundancies and lack of local control, Skagit mayors appear to be leaning toward dissolving the SIRTPO or simply opting to leave the organization individually.
Without a Regional Transportation Planning Organization, Island County could lose some of the “clout” they currently have with Olympia lawmakers as a regional organization. In addition, they could potentially lose long-term access to state Transportation Alternatives Program, or TAP, funds.
After a lengthy discussion leaders agreed to return to the next SIRTPO meeting, tentatively rescheduled for June 25, with a decision on which direction they want to go.