Now that many of the genuine no-hope bills have died their early death, here’s what’s still alive in Olympia that matters for transit and land use. Status is as of yesterday afternoon. Bills start out in the relevant committee, then go to Rules to await their turn for a floor vote.
Really Big Deals
Out of committee, awaiting floor vote
SB 5773 / HB 1953 applies specifically to Community Transit, and would allow up to 0.3% more in sales tax through 2018 given voter approval. This provision replaced a 1% Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET) with no time limit in an earlier version.
SB 5088 prevents C-Tran from forming a “high-capacity transit district” to vote on and pay taxes for light rail, forcing it to seek approval and taxation from the entire C-Tran service area.
HB 1959 / SB 5861 concerns two revenue sources: up to $40 for TBDs without a public vote; and a 1.5% MVET for King County, of which 60% must be for transit and 40% for roads, with no public vote. (Still in committee in the Senate)
SB 5793 / HB 1898: allows Pierce Transit to create an “enhanced transit zone” within its service area with higher taxes and better service, separating out precincts that are more strongly pro-transit. (Still in committee in the Senate)
Still in Committee
HB 1485 gives transportation benefit districts (TBDs) the power to levy a $40 vehicle license fee (instead of $20) without a public vote.
A source tells me all of the transit revenue bills may eventually be combined into one super-bill in each house. Some or all of these bills were sponsored by Reps. Liias, Moscoso, Stanford, Roberts, Dunshee, Sells, McCoy, Ryu, Fey, Sawyer, Fitzgibbon, Jinkins, Farrell, Pollet, Morrell, Kagi, Pedersen, Bergquist, Tarleton, and Cody in the House; and Sens. Harper, Eide, Shin, McAuliffe, Nelson, Frockt, Kline, Darneille, Conway, Murray, and Kohl-Welles.
Unless otherwise noted, these have all made it out of committee.
HB 1563 / SB 5598 allows public agencies to sell their surplus lands for below market rate to low income housing agencies. A noble cause, but should transit agencies even get in the business of subsidizing housing?
HB 1233 adds health as an objective of the transportation system. This would reduce the perceived return on investment of car infrastructure, as driving has terrible implications for public health.
HB 1745 would make SR 167 High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes permanent, exempts emergency vehicles.
SB 5066 / HB 1045: Reduces bureaucracy for cities trying to reduce speed limits to 20 mph on “non-arterial highways,” possibly making streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. (It has passed the House altogether)
HB 1648 allows the Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) so it would also fund revitalization of vacant lands inside cities, not just out on the periphery. A useful correction to a pro-sprawl policy.
HB 1695 acccelerates the use of lodging taxes to fund affordable housing near transit stations in King County.