Liias receives outstanding legislator award from state association of sewer and water districts

Sen. Marko Liias receiving his award.

The Washington Association of Sewer & Water Districts (WASWD) has presented its annual Outstanding Legislator Award to 21st District State Sen. Marko Liias.

According to an association announcement, the award presented July 20 recognizes “the tremendous efforts he made to protect a critical state funding source for water, sewer, and other local government infrastructure projects.”

As chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, Liias was a leader in the negotiations of the $17 billion transportation package that was passed in the 2022 Legislature, the announcement said. During the discussions, amidst pressure from the oil industry and several large business associations, he repeatedly and consistently objected to siphoning money from Washington state’s Public Works Assistance Account (PWAA) to fund the transportation package. While Liias’s efforts did not overcome the momentum to use funds from the PWAA for the transportation package, they helped to temper the amount of money that was diverted, the association said.

“Our state’s Public Works Assistance Account has been nationally recognized for its innovative approach to improving infrastructure in the most affordable manner for citizens,” Liias said. “I will continue to champion it every chance I get.”

The PWAA was established more than three decades ago to provide low-interest loans to special purpose utility districts, cities and counties for sewer, water and a limited number of other public infrastructure projects. The account is largely funded through taxes imposed on utility operations and through repayment of past PWAA loans. Liias has long recognized its critical importance to special-purpose utility districts, both during his time as state representative from 2008 through 2014, and currently as state senator, the association said.

In the past decade, the 21st Legislative District has received close to $15 million in PWAA funding for infrastructure improvements, encompassing sewer main and lift station improvements for Mukilteo Water & Wastewater District, a new replacement water line for Olympic View Water & Sewer District, a water supply project for Cross Valley Water District, and pollution control facility improvement costs for Silver Lake Water & Sewer, the announcement said.

Despite the success of the program, legislators began diverting more than $150 million a year from the PWAA, starting in 2009, to cover budget shortfalls. Despite promising to end the diversion in 2023, the legislature will now continue to divert funds for the transportation package. According to the association, this practice has a direct and increasingly negative impact on the quality of our state’s infrastructure. In 2021, over 30 qualified projects remained unfunded due to a lack of resources, and that number will only continue to grow.

“All of us at WASWD are extremely grateful for Sen. Liias’ persistence and commitment to affordable essential water and sewer services,”said WASWD Executive Director Judi Gladstone.

  1. Thank you Marko for all you do. You have been an asset to the 21st District and the whole state. Keep working for all of as you continue in the State Senate.

  2. I wish people would take seriously Liias’s many accomplishments for the Edmonds community and the State.

    1. I would be curious to know the specific facts and details of how Mr. Liias’s direction, votes, and programs have or will benefit Edmonds residents as a whole.

  3. Interesting strategy to circumvent the Primary “blackout” of Candidate support pieces- timed just right….

    But the reality is that Liias has failed the 21st Legislative District on many important levels by the choices he’s made when casting votes in Olympia.

    In the 2021-22 Short Session, when it was clear that the Laws passed during 2021 under the umbrella of “Police Reform,” and the current crime wave we have to endure was full-swing, Sen Liias’ voting record speaks for itself.

    Public Safety and Crime :
    -He would not support tougher penalties being added for “ Flash Mob Looting”
    -He voted against SB 5919 a bill that helped clarify & strengthen probable cause language and support Law Enforcement’s ability to protect the law-abiding public.
    -He voted no on HB 2037, a Bill that clarified the language regarding Law Enforcements “use of force” in a previously-passed reform bill.

    Both of the above Bills were supported and championed by Edmonds’ own retired Police Chief, Al Compaan.

    Instead of passing laws that would protect the safety of his constituents, he sponsored SB 5670 a bill that would have allowed the State to usurp the zoning decisions that have always been owned by local municipalities. It would have required “any city with population 20K or more to authorize development of all middle housing types on all lots zoned Single Family residential use within 1/2 mile of a major transit stop.” (includes Ferries)
    Thankfully, it never went to a vote, (yet).

    Liias himself said from the floor of the Senate, (my emphasis) “if it were up to me, we would MANDATE missing middle housing in every jurisdiction across our state but the legislature has not reached a consensus on that.”

    It’s time to vote Liias out of office.
    Primary ballots are due by August 2nd!

  4. Congratulations, Sen. Liias! This award is greatly deserved because Marko Liias is an outstanding legislator, who has worked hard to protect the infrastructure we all rely on and to protect the community–all of it–through supporting access and opportunity in housing, education, transportation and much more. Sadly, I have received two over-sized postcards full of lies about Sen. Liias and distortions about his record. These are the work of an anti-tax organization headquartered in Tacoma and funded by rich out-of-district people who don’t want pay taxes and don’t care if ordinary people have affordable water, sewer, roads, parks, law enforcement, schools. The card says “no candidate authorized this ad” but I’d like to hear local candidates, especially Marko Liias’s opponent, denounce these lie-filled distortions that malign our Outstanding Legislator.

  5. If Senator Liias happens to do something that benefits his constituents, it is akin to a blind squirrel finding the occasional acorn. Vote him out.

  6. Don’t forget raising the driver’s license fee (SB5974), increasing license plate fee by 500% (SB5974), two votes to raise the gas tax (SB5987 and SB5971). He also voted for HB2638 and SB5121 to allow early release of felons. And he voted to make Washington a “sanctuary state,” preventing local police from helping federal law enforcement (SB5497). But wait, there’s more, he also voted for SB5476 to legalize the personal possession of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. That’s been super helpful.
    If you care at all about Edmonds and Washington State, please do not be fooled by this puff piece and carefully timed “award.” Marko Liias has done great harm to our community, our economy, and our infrastructure. Please vote and please vote him out.

  7. I’ve known and respected Marko Liias for many years and am thankful to be represented by him in Olympia. He is smart, hard-working, courageous, and dedicated to what best for our community — today and tomorrow, rich and poor. It would be a shame for a well-funded opponent to capitalize on the electorate’s narrow interest in tax cuts to not recognize the value of Marko’s experience and dedication. The recent “big postcards” that we received are shameful. Edmonds is the great community it is not because of the values of the “anti-tax” groups who don’t even live here but because of good governance and a recognition among thoughtful voters that, when it comes to our neighborhoods, if you pay peanuts…you’ll get monkeys. In other words, I appreciate a senator who is about more than cutting taxes. Thanks Marko.

    1. Hey Rick Steves, Whats shameful is you criticising hardworking people who don’t want continously raised, taxes! You’re rich! You don’t speak for me! Also, I don’t appreciate a “representative” who voted to defund the police! You represent values that are not in line with this town! You have actively promoted use of Marijuana and this is very upsetting to me and my family! Just because you have bucks in Edmonds doesn’t give you the right to say what’s best for the rest of us. Marko wants density and we don’t! Maybe some areas can handle growth but Edmonds cannot. Rick, I don’t appreciate your values and I want lower taxes so there you go! I’m glad I’ve traveled the world, Paris, Italy, Australia, Tahiti, etc and I never compromised my values by using Rick Steve’s. I didn’t vote for Marko either.

  8. Thank you, Rick. I was appalled by the two flyers I received in the mail, and they went promptly into the recycling bin.

    Outright lies and the obvious work of dark money interests. Hopefully the good people of Edmonds recognized them for the propaganda they were.

  9. The 17 billion Transportation Bill is great for those on the receiving end, but not for the taxpayers. The state had a 12 billion budget excess, but Liias felt a need to increase taxes. The average taxpayer will see a substantial increase in the price of a gallon ofgasoline come 2023 due to the new carbon tax(clever of Marko to delay it until after the election, and not call it a gas tax). Also because it is a carbon tax and not a gas tax, none of it needs to go to transportation.
    As noted before, the timing of this “article”which reads like a campaign ad is a transparent avoidance of the blackout of a Candidate Support Piece. It’s time for MEN to broaden it’s definition of a “Candidate Support Piece”

  10. Congrats to Marko! This is actually an award coming from an organization that works on both sides of the aisle. Democrats and republicans have been chosen in the past. Your state congressman was recognized for what he did. Saying congratulations doesn’t mean you agree with him on everything else and doesn’t mean you have to vote for him. I for one would like to see our politicians be rewarded more for non partisan work. Heck maybe it is the future of politics :).

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