The LWVWA positions on transportation are found on pages 20-22 of Program in Action. In brief, the position is “The League supports a balanced state transportation policy that defines the role of the state and supports increases in funding to provide adequate revenue, flexibility, energy efficiency and safety in a multi-modal system of transportation.”
Transportation planning, funding and system implementation are complex, multi-year, sometimes multi-decade, processes. Hence transportation is budgeted separately from other funds and includes both operating and capital funding. It is also planned for long periods, such as 15-16 years.
The most recent long-term transportation funding package was approved several years ago and did not include adequate funding for the Columbia River I-5 Bridge Replacement Project or several other key needs. So that will be a focal area of interest in the 2022 legislative session. Additionally, the legislature should direct federal transportation funding opportunities in this session.
Debate in 2021 included differences in opinion about what goals should be prioritized, how carbon emissions should be addressed and how to replace the diminishing gas tax revenue needed. Current funding forecasts do not provide adequately for ferry system needs, transit service needs or passenger rail needs. These issues will all be considered again in 2022.
New legislation prefiled for 2022 includes transfer of General Fund money to cover the cost of certain transportation projects. The League cannot support this because the General Fund has unmet needs, even though it has been forecast to have a surplus in the coming biennium.
Transportation is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, so the League’s greatest emphasis this year will be on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions with multi-modal funding, particularly with transit, because of its demonstrated significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions if used widely - and because of the social and economic equity needs transit would address.
League priority bills are in bold below.
|Bill Name (Brief Title)
|On Floor Calendar
|On Floor Calendar
|On Governor's Desk
|Concerning broadband infrastructure loans and grants made by the public works board
|Funding to expand transit service
|Funding to develop a statewide public transportation plan
These weekly updates will provide you with a "deep dive" into the progress of each bill, along with more analysis of the potential impact of the bill if it should pass.
SB 5510 Relating to renewal of the sales and use tax for transportation benefit districts (TBD) authorizes extension of TBD sales taxes for an additional ten-year period if approved by the voters.
Bills the League Supports that HAVE passed
HB 1673 Concerning broadband infrastructure loans and grants made by the public works board, establishes a procedure for emergency loans to replace broadband infrastructure damaged by a natural disaster or unforeseen events.
SB 5528 Relating to the imposition of additive revenue sources within a regional transit authority area would allow establishment of enhanced service zones for which new voter-approved taxes may be established and used.
Bills the League Supports That Did Not Pass
HB 1039 Reporting on, updating, and expanding deployment of existing government programs that provide education on bicycle and pedestrian travel including the Safe Routes to Schools program.
HB 1075 Reducing emissions from vehicles associated with on-demand transportation services, requiring commercial transportation service providers to report on vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions and to develop plans by 2024 to meet Ecology GHG emission reduction goals by. Also requires Ecology to report to the Legislature on how to reduce GHG emissions by entities delivering food and other consumer goods.
HB 1204 Concerning the electrification of transportation. This bill would require the Washington State Transportation Commission to develop a scoping plan by Sep. 1, 2023, to analyze the need and capacity to support electric vehicles and recommend a strategy to address equity impacts of the current requirement that all vehicle models in 2030 or later be electric and propose regulations as appropriate.
HB 1503 Establishing an alternative fuel vehicle retail sales and use tax exemption for individuals qualifying for the federal earned income tax credit.
HB 1577 Establishing a carbon tax on fossil fuels used for transportation at the rate of $25.00 per metric ton of greenhouse gas emissions, adjusted annually for inflation, with certain exemptions and allowing climate bonds to be issued with these funds. Requires DOE to determine and report whether the sources of emissions covered by this tax will achieve the goals set in RCW 70A.45.020.
HB 1602 Relating to completing outstanding financial obligations regarding the Tacoma Narrows toll bridge project, transferring General Fund money to pay the bonds.
HB 1603 Shifting certain transportation funding obligations to the General Fund.
HB 2026 Implementing a per mile charge on vehicles, reflects the value in transitioning to electric vehicle use as well the diminishing gas tax revenue available for transportation needs, by establishing a road usage charge on electric and hybrid vehicles of 2.5 cents per mile driven, beginning July 1, 2025 and for combustion engine vehicles in 2027. It waives the current fees on electric and hybrid vehicles and places a cap on the per mile charge at $50 less than the combined fees that are waived. The bill also includes various implementation directives. The per mile charge will be based on odometer readings to protect the privacy of vehicle operators.
HB 2084 Requiring the joint transportation committee to conduct a study of a third bridge over the Columbia river between southwest Washington and Oregon, would mandate a study of the transportation needs in southwest WA and northern OR to determine the need, potential location and estimated cost of another cross-Columbia bridge. It also appropriates $300,000 to conduct the study, which would be due by June 30, 2023.
SB 5232 Relating to limiting bonding toll revenues on certain state highway facilities (I-405 and SR 167). This would limit use of toll revenues for bonding if the toll revenue is not up to a certain standard.
SB 5444 Implementing a per mile charge on electric and hybrid vehicles. The per-mile charge would compensate for the lack of gas tax revenue which is currently the primary source of highway preservation and maintenance funding.
SB 5488 Relating to completing outstanding financial obligations regarding the Tacoma Narrows toll bridge project, transferring General Fund money to pay the bonds.
SB 5903 Providing multimodal transportation options at drive-up services, would mandate that bicyclists, pedestrians, and other nonmotor vehicle modes of transportation be given access to any site where vehicle drive-up services are provided.