Fighting Climate Change and Its Effects
Achieve balanced and efficient systems, prioritizing those that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and congestion.
Right Now in Transportation
(Interested in the 2020 Session Recap? Click Here)
The 2021 session will focus on proposals to change the criteria for funding transportation projects, as discussed last year; establish a new budget to account for necessary new projects; and adjust revenue assumptions to reflect any decisions the legislature makes in response to I-976 (car tab initiative). The effects of the passage of the car tab initiative, and the need to adjust expectations once it was declared unconstitutional, had a depressive impact on the ability of the legislature to accurately forecast revenue and therefore adopt a new appropriations bill.
Additionally, there will be consideration of new ways to fund transportation in light of declines in gas tax revenues, the traditional funding mainstay. Although I-976 failed by the court ruling it unconstitutional, there is some sentiment that the legislature should enact the $30 car tab limit anyway.
Other issues which are not new but which may get more emphasis this year are the need for increased support for transit, consideration of the unmet active transportation needs (active transportation is pedestrian, bicycle, etc.), and review of electrification of vehicles, ferries and aircraft. There will likely also be attention given to new, stricter fuel standards and a carbon tax or fee.
Three studies that might be of interest and could lead to future legislation are:
The public review and comment period for this is open now. A virtual open house and comment opportunity is listed here.
Two open house webinars are on January 21 and 22; and the public comment period will close February 15.
The Governor’s proposed transportation bill has a public hearing on January 21. The House and Senate Transportation Chairs will each release proposed transportation budget bills soon. Rep. Fey is expected to release his proposal on Tuesday, January 19. Cap and trade or carbon fee bills to reduce carbon with funding dedicated to transportation are anticipated.
Bills We Support
HB 1136/SB 5166: Making 2019-2021 supplemental transportation appropriations. This is the Governor’s supplemental transportation budget, which each Transportation Committee will revise in favor of their own bills, but the committee hearings provide background for legislators on what people are interested I or concerned about. The League will support transit funding in particular.
STATUS UPDATE: HB 1136 will have a public hearing in the House Transportation Committee on January 21 at 3:30 pm.
HB 1135: Making transportation appropriations for the 2021-2023 fiscal biennium. This is the Governor’s transportation funding bill. League will testify in favor of some elements at the public hearing scheduled for January 19, 3:30 pm, in the House Transportation Committee. However, the House Transportation Committee Chair is expected to release his own proposal that same day.
HB 1136: Making 2019-2021 supplemental transportation appropriations. See comments on HB 1135.
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.
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 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.
Bills We Are Watching
HB 1010: Dedicating the state sales tax on motor vehicles for transportation.
HB 1030 / SB5031: 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.
SB 5028 Limiting state and local taxes, fees, and other charges relating to vehicles. This bill would institute the $30 car tabs.
How You Can Be Involved
Read the weekly Legislative Newsletter and respond to the requests for Action in the Transportation section.