OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire has appointed Tom Cowan to the Washington State Transportation Commission. His appointment is effective immediately.
Cowan has more than 27 years of public policy experience, beginning with his election as a San Juan County Commissioner in 1983, leadership positions in state and federal agencies, and involvement in numerous non-profit organizations. A resident of Lopez Island for 36 years, Cowan worked as an electrical contractor before his election as San Juan County Commissioner and later owned Sunset Builders Supply, the island’s only hardware store, with his wife Tamara. Cowan is currently a public policy consultant and marine resources project manager.
The Transportation Commission is a seven member body of citizens appointed by the Governor for six-year terms that provides a public forum for transportation policy development. It issues the state’s 20-year Transportation Plan and serves as the state’s Tolling Authority, setting tolls for state highways and bridges and fares for Washington State Ferries.
“As a Commissioner, I will work to raise more awareness of the connections between our transportation system and our marine environment.” said Cowan. “Our state’s economic health depends on a fully functioning and efficient transportation system that meets our mobility needs, helps sustain our natural resources, and provides connectivity between modes. The ferry system is an important part of this system, providing a vital link both in the San Juan Islands and throughout Puget Sound. Its future must be stabilized.”
Cowan was Director of the Northwest Straits Commission, established to protect and restore vital marine resources in northern Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, from 1999 to 2006. Prior to that, he was Assistant Director for the Puget Sound Action Team. He is currently chair of the San Juan County Land Bank Commission and serves on the Board of the SeaDoc Society.