Washington State has for many years focused primarily on highway development (including the ferry system). The state’s transportation budget is typically based on a multi-year plan and is not adjusted biennially in the same way the operating budget is. In 2022, the Legislature shifted priorities in its transportation package, significantly increasing funding for transit and focusing on preservation and maintenance of roads, rather than new development. However, many issues remain related to the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support increased density necessary for affordable housing. Additionally, rail system and transportation safety needs have not been adequately examined.
Early in the legislative session, it was understood that there would not be a major change in the transportation funding package, but that there would be adjustments; and that safety would be a high priority for the Legislature. This turned out to be how the session evolved.
A number of safety-related bills were passed and the budget was increased significantly but not at the magnitude of a new funding package or new revenue sources. As hoped, funding for rail and transit was increased. Details are provided in the attached update.
League priority bills are in bold below.
|House Bills||House||Senate||After Passage|
|Bill #||Bill Name (Brief Title)||League Position||Take Action||In Committee||On Floor Calendar||Passed||In Committee||On Floor Calendar||Passed||Passed Legislature||On Governor's Desk||Signed|
|HB 1084||Concerning freight mobility prioritization.||Support
|HB 1257||Concerning the authority of cargo and passenger ports.||Watch
|HB 1540||Requiring driver training curriculum to include instruction on sharing the road with large vehicles, including commercial motor vehicles and buses||Support
|HB 1791||Relating to studying the need for increased commercial aviation services||Watch
|HB 1832||Implementing a per mile charge on vehicle usage of public roadways||Support
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 5012 Requiring the joint transportation committee to conduct a study of a third bridge over the Columbia River between southwest Washington and Oregon. There are currently bridges at Vancouver/Portland (I-5), I-205 Portland bypass bridge at Vancouver (Salmon Creek) WA/Tualatin OR, and Longview WA to Rainier OR. The replacement of I-5 bridge has long been deemed necessary for safety and commerce but was stopped in approximately 2013 for various reasons. This bill would require a study of another bridge in the vicinity of I-5.
SB 5017 Dedicating the sales tax on motor vehicles to highway uses. The League opposes any additional restrictions on funds dedicated to transportation because funding is needed for highway alternatives, such as rail or transit; and the sales tax that currently supports the operating budget should not be diverted to highways.
SB 5018 Concerning sales tax revenues of transportation projects being used for transportation purposes. This bill would transfer sales tax to the motor vehicle fund from the general fund. As for SB 5017, the League opposes any additional restrictions on funds dedicated to transportation because funding is needed for highway alternatives, such as rail or transit; and the sales tax that currently supports the operating budget should not be diverted to highways.
SB 5068 Dedicating the state sales tax on motor vehicles for transportation. Sales taxes are now applied to the General Fund. This bill would establish a schedule by which sales tax paid on motor vehicles would be transferred to transportation preservation and maintenance uses instead.
SB 5272 Relating to speed safety camera systems on state highways, would require enforcement of speeding caught on cameras.
SB 5281 Modifying the aircraft fuel excise tax. This bill would allocate 5 cents of the gas tax to a new Commercial Aviation Mitigation Account, which must be used only for addressing environmental and other impacts associated with airports in communities impacted by the airports.
SB 5317 Concerning the removal of vehicles by a regional transit authority when obstructing the operation of high-capacity transportation vehicles or jeopardizing public safety.
SB 5412 Reducing local governments' land use permitting workloads. It would support transit-oriented development and would ensure objective and timely design review for housing and other land use proposals.
SB 5452 Authorizing impact fee revenue to fund improvements to bicycle and pedestrian facilities, would add bicycle and pedestrian facilities that were designed with multimodal commuting as an intended use to the uses allowable with transportation impact mitigation fees.
SB 5466 Transit-oriented development, would amend the Growth Management Act to prohibit siting multi-family housing on parcels where any other residential use is permitted and prohibits local governments from requiring off-street parking within a transit station area.
SB 5504 Addressing open motor vehicle safety recalls, would establish a system of assuring that people are notified of and held accountable for responding to vehicle safety recalls.
SB 5583 Improving young driver safety, would require driver training for individuals between 18 and 25 to get a driver’s license.
SJR 8200 Amending the state Constitution so that state revenue collected from a road usage charge, vehicle miles traveled fee, or other similar type of comparable charge, must be used exclusively for highway purposes. The League opposes this because it does not support multi-modal transportation which is needed to address climate change and congestion relief.
HB 1084 Concerning freight mobility prioritization, would establish a board to advise on freight mobility needs while addressing transition to zero emissions technology and historically over-burdened communities.
HB 1791 Relating to studying the need for increased commercial aviation services, would replace the Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission with a Commercial Aviation Work Group and direct that group to evaluate the commercial aviation needs of the state within the broader context of state transportation needs and the specific needs of western Washington and to investigate the expansion of existing aviation facilities and possible siting locations for new greenfield aviation facilities and report on the strengths and weaknesses of each site considered.
HB 1257 Concerning the authority of cargo and passenger ports. This bill would authorize cargo and ports to coordinate with others without liability under federal antitrust laws.
HB 1540 Requiring driver training curriculum to include instruction on sharing the road with large vehicles, including commercial motor vehicles and buses.
Bills that Died
SB 5195 Addressing fuel price transparency, would require that fuel prices be rounded up to the nearest cent.
SB 5314 Relating to electric-assisted bicycle use on certain trails and roads, would allow electric-assisted bicycles on any routes open to non-motorized bicycles where the surface is suitable, subject to enforcement of all other rules, such as speed limits. Electric-assisted bicycles are those with a motor that helps the pedals turn when riding, but no throttle like a motorcycle or dirt bike would have.
SB 5383 Concerning pedestrians crossing and moving along roadways. This bill makes several changes to jaywalking laws and directs driver responses to persons on the roadway.
SB 5430 Providing support for low-income novice drivers to receive driver training. This bill would provide vouchers for low-income youth to receive driver safety training.
SB 5431/HB 1368 Requiring and funding the purchase of zero emission school buses, requires that any school buses purchased by school districts, charter schools, or state-tribal education compact schools be zero-emission school buses beginning September 1, 2035.
SB 5449 Concerning the requirements for school buses used for purposes other than the transportation of students, would require that when a school bus is sold and used for other purposes, it must be converted by repainting, removal of lights and stop sign, etc., so that it is no longer identifiable as a school vehicle.
SB 5471 Relating to the use of electric-assisted bicycles on certain trails and roads by persons with disabilities, would allow any person with a current disabled parking placard to use electric-assisted bicycles on all nonmotorized natural surface trails and closed roads where bicycles are allowed.
SB 5514/HB 1582 Prohibiting drivers from making a right turn within proximity of certain facilities. This bill would remove the “free” right turn on a red light within 1000 feet of facilities such as schools, parks, hospitals and more.
SB 5560 Relating to improving older driver safety, would require the Department of Transportation to develop a plan with implementation strategies for improving safety involving drivers over age 70 by January 2024.
SB 5742 Codifying certain existing grant programs at the department of transportation
HB 1674 Improving protections for pedestrians and other vulnerable roadway users from dangers posed by certain pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles. This bill would require safety education for drivers of these kinds of vehicles.
HB 1040 Establishing an aviation and aerospace advisory committee, would create a committee to advise the director and the secretary of the department of transportation on matters related to aviation and aerospace in Washington state, including but not limited to developing recommendations regarding capital budget requests related to aviation and aerospace needs and developing strategies to enhance the safe and effective use of public use airports and aerospace facilities in Washington state.
HB 1118 Addressing school bus safety, would require seat belts and safety cameras in school buses as of September 2024.
HB 1414 Concerning the removal of vehicles by a regional transit authority when obstructing the operation of high capacity transportation vehicles or jeopardizing public safety
To be involved in support of revenue equity, you can: