Below is a summary of bills of interest that are currently working their way through the House and Senate Transportation Committees. Like last year there are a litany of bills that limit or ban red light running cameras and this year there are a good number of bills related to tow trucks. If you would like to take a look at other active bills working their way through the legislature follow this link.

HB 1217 – This bill would allow cities to lower speed limits to 20 mph on non-aertierial roads without an engineering study, which is currently required. This bill has already been unanimously passed by the House and has more momentum in the Senate where it stalled last year.

HB 2252 – This bill essentially tidies up language related to proof of payment systems for transit agencies clarifying the language and bringing it up to date with ORCA.

HB 2370 – “Expands the existing goals, objectives, and responsibilities related to the operation of an efficient statewide transportation system to include the health of the state’s citizens.” This is a good bill that will help to add health and active transportation as a major goal of the states transportation system. The bill has a large number of co-sponsors include Rep. Clibborn, chair of the House Transportation Committee, which is always a good sign.

HB 2601 – This legislation allow Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RTPO), in our case PSRC, to establish “transit service overlay zones”. These zones must have frequent bus service, minimum current or planned employment densities, minimum current or planned housing unit density, or be a regional center. These thresholds would be set by the RPTO.

The original bill included a categorical SEPA exception for developments within the overlay zone which had fewer  than 150 residential units or fewer than 100,000 sq ft of commercial space. This provision has since been removed from the bill. From my understanding, the provision was included as an incentive for development within the overlay zone, however with removal of the SEPA exception, this bill is essentially only enabling legislation that allows inter-governmental planning work between local and regional agencies in areas around high quality transit. The legislation does specifically say “frequent bus service” which would exclude Link. I don’t know if that was an intentional decision are just slopping language.

HB 2659 – This bill deals with Transportation Benefit Districts (TBDs), limiting the ability of jurisdictions that overlap (i.e. City of Seattle and King County) to both impose TBD vehicle fees without a vote of the people, in their overlapping geographic areas. So for example if the Seattle City Council passed a vehicle fee first, the King County Council would only be able to levy a fee in areas outside of Seattle. From my understanding the idea behind this legislation is to avoid multiple jurisdictions from piling VLF fees on top of each other, however the bill could also cause a mad dash between jurisdictions that both want to implement a VLF fee without a vote of the people.

SB 6444 – Authorized variable tolling of the central waterfront section of SR 99 between milepost 30 at Atlantic St to milepost 32 at Mercer St bridge. An earlier bill would have allowed WSDOT to merge tolling accounts of all toll facilities but that provision has been removed.

SB 6215 – Allows local jurisdictions to create an optional transportation benefit district rebate program to fund rebates to low-income individuals, if they so choose. It requires the optional rebate programs to be created and administered by the transportation benefit district authorizing certain taxes, fees, and tolls. This is a fairly interesting bill because I personally haven’t seen similar bills elsewhere before. The bill has passed out of committee.

12 Replies to “Legislative Bills to Track”

  1. Regarding HB 2659, I don’t see a problem with County and City governments stacking taxes like that. Cities are, in my view, areas where people spend more in taxes and collect more in services than they otherwise would in an unincorporated area. They should locally be able to collect and spend money in addition to what the county can. I personally also think Cities should be able to stack their sales taxes on top of what the county already collects in unincorporated areas, though.

    1. Yes. I’d go further and say we should tax ourselves however we want. It’s our money.

      1. The State will never go for it. With King County only getting back sixty cents on the dollar we would have very little incentive to vote for statewide tax increases if we have the ability to just ourselves. Why settle for a little more half when we can keep the whole thing? And without a blowout in King County no statewide tax can pass. The rest of state NEEDS the Seattle Subsidy to survive.

      2. Matt — do you think only regressive sales taxes should be as high as tax promoters around here want, or should taxes on corporations and ones targeting the rich go up as well for transit?

      3. I know it’s politically impossible in this state. Just my personal ideals, that’s all.

      4. [wilco] I’m very much in favor of an income tax – or even better, a wealth tax.

        Though that might be challenging to enact at the city or even county level – we’d be talking about enough money per rich individual that they’d just move to the next county. I know you’re talking about state-level, and I’m all for income or wealth taxes there as well. But the problem is: where Seattle and our metro area are willing to tax ourselves for the things we want, the state as a whole is strongly anti-tax.

  2. In case I haven’t mentioned this before: I really appreciate when this blog puts in this much work. I know I don’t have the patience or time to research the bills that appear in both houses, but I do think it’s important that we keep an eye on these things. Thanks.

      1. Wait a second! I call a sock puppet!

        That post was completely positive. It can’t be our d.p. IMPOSTOR!

      2. I was worried I’d get incredulity out of that.

        Seriously, though, there are journalists whose beats involve nothing more than parsing the stream of legislative action, inaction, and semi-action. It’s a tough thing to do as an extracurricular.

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