Fighting Climate Change and Its Effects

Achieve balanced and efficient systems, prioritizing those that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and congestion.

Issue Chair: Cynthia Stewart,
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Right Now in Transportation

The adopted 2021-23 biennium transportation budget appropriates $11.8 billion for a variety of purposes. This budget is very complex, involving 49 different accounts and multiple appropriations in many of them (e.g., state, federal, local, private/partnership). The new revenue sources proposed earlier in the session, such as carbon fee, increased gas tax, etc., did not pass yet. This budget is funded entirely by existing funds and existing revenue sources. When the 16-year transportation package is adopted, probably 2022, there will be new revenues.

Among other things, the 2021-23 biennium transportation budget funds:

  • $4 billion for capital projects 
  • $10 million for fossil fuel alternatives 
  • $520 million for highway maintenance, including $3 million to address homeless encampments on state highway rights of way 
  • $849 million for highway (including bridges) structural preservation 
  • $93 million for traffic control, safety measures, congestion relief and traveler information measures 
  • $9.2 million for studies, including SR 302 safety; connectivity in the area between State Routes 161, 7, 507 and I-5; SR 520 bridge noise abatement; SR 167 master plan (which had been delayed); and continuation of vehicles miles traveled and road usage charges analysis. 
  • $273 million for public transit, including special needs, green transportation expansion, transportation demand management and more. 
  • $505 million ferry capital (improvements to vessels and terminals) and $541 million for ferry operations 
  • $81 million for rail operations, including $500,000 for a Cascades service development plan; and $130 million for rail capital projects. 
  • $611.4 million for city and county transportation systems, local safety programs and local planning organizations 
  • $550 million for the Washington State Patrol operations and capital 
  • $374.5 million for Department of Licensing 
  • $3.3 million for a variety of policy studies, including highways and broadband, equity in transportation, Hood River Bridge authority, short-line rail needs, truck parking, vehicle registration and state ferries workforce, facility and technology needs, rail safety oversight, fish passage in cities, use of American made steel, and continuation of the Aviation Siting Commission 
  • $32.7 million for the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission 
  • $863,000 for freight mobility management

For a summary comparison of the House and Senate proposals to the final adopted budget, see

For a list of capital projects included in this budget, see Note that capital projects are budgeted through a multi-year funding plan.

Emission Control, Fuel Standard, and Growth Management Bills

The League is supporting or watching a number of bills related to new fuel standards, emissions controls and revisions to the Growth Management Act which have transportation elements. Please see the Climate Change Issue Web Page for the status of these.

SB 5000 Creating a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle pilot sales and use tax exemption program.

HB 1091 Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the carbon intensity of transportation fuel.

HB 1075 Reducing emissions from vehicles associated with on-demand transportation services.

HB 1099 Improving the state's climate response through updates to the state's comprehensive planning framework.

HB 1287 Concerning preparedness for a zero emissions transportation future.

Bills the League Supported That Passed

HB 1514 Addressing transportation demand management. This bill provides a tax exemption for vehicles that are used for ridesharing. This bill passed both chamber and was delivered to the governor on April 22.

SB 5165 Making transportation appropriations for the 2021-23 fiscal bienniumThis bill was originally the governor’s proposed biennium transportation budget proposal. It used to host the ultimate transportation budget passed by the House and Senate after a conference committee report.

SB 5192 Supporting access to electric vehicle supply equipmentThis bill would increase access by the public to electric vehicle charging stations. This bill was referred to conference committee and approved by both chambers in the last few days of the session.

Bills the League Was Watching

HB 1010 Dedicating the state sales tax on motor vehicles for transportation. This bill never moved after its public hearing in January.

SB 5031 Concerning a community aviation revitalization loan program. The bill would establish a community aviation revitalization board under WSDOT to manage loans to public access general aviation airports through a community aviation revitalization fund. The League does not have a position on aviation except that it contributes to the balanced transportation system, but members may be interested in aviation as a transportation mode and the contribution that general aviation makes to the economy. This bill was delivered to the governor on April 23.

HB 1137 Elevating road maintenance and preservation in transportation planning. This bill would reorder the transportation priorities as follows. Note on the table in the third column the changes that League supported in 2019. The reordering of goals could have a significant effect on what is funded.

Current Goals

Proposed in HB 1137

Proposed in 2019


Economic vitality










Environment & Climate




Health & Resilience



Economic vitality

Equity and Environmental Justice





Economic Vitality

tatus HB 1137 passed the House as a substitute bill. The bill retained the proposed goals listed above and removed other text in the bill that do not affect the proposed priorities. Stewardship is defined as “continuously improve the quality, effectiveness, resilience, and efficiency of the transportation system." Economic vitality is defined as “promote and develop transportation systems that stimulate, support, and enhance the movement of people and goods to ensure a prosperous economy." This bill passed the Senate with a minor amendment on April 7 and on April 24 the House concurred with the Senate amendments.

SB 5232 Relating to limiting bonding toll revenues on certain state highway facilities. This would limit use of toll revenues for bonding on bridges to only those bridges where tolls are used and would not allow tolls for express lanes to be used for bonding.

Status This bill passed the Senate on March 20 and had a hearing in the House Transportation Committee on April 2. It has not yet been scheduled for executive session. 

Bills the League Opposed

SB 5028 Limiting state and local taxes, fees, and other charges relating to vehicles. This bill would institute the $30 car tabs. It never moved after being referred to the Senate Transportation Committee in January.

Bills the League Supported That Failed to Pass

HB 1039 Reporting on, updating, and expanding deployment of existing government programs that provide education on bicycle and pedestrian travel would enhance bicycle and pedestrian safety, including the Safe Routes to Schools program. This bill did not move out of the House Transportation Committee.     

SB 5444 Implementing a per mile charge on electric and hybrid vehicles. This bill would establish a voluntary early adoption/pilot project to evaluate road usage charges for EVs and hybrids by December 2022. This bill passed the Senate Transportation Committee on March 16 and but never moved from the Senate Rules Committee.

SB 5308 Reducing certain transportation electrification fees on hybrid vehicles. This bill had a public hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee on Feb.18 but never moved beyond that.

HB 1503 Establishing an alternative fuel vehicle retail sales and use tax exemption for lower-income individuals.  This bill would allow an exemption to the vehicle sales tax for EVs for low-income purchasers. This bill had a public hearing in the House Finance Committee on Feb. 17. It was passed out of the Finance Committee and referred to the Transportation Committee on Feb. 19 but did not progress. 

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. This bill remains in the House Rules Committee.

Contact Transportation Issue Chair Cynthia Stewart,, to be included in a periodic group email that provides additional information.

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