As great as the House transportation bill was, the Senate refused to concur with it and sent the legislation to conference committee. In my view, the end product is actually an improvement for transit advocates.
According to the TCC website this is going to both chambers in a matter of hours, so tell your legislators to support this bill. Even if they’re a lock to vote for it, it’s always useful for them to know that it’s very important to their constituents. The bill number is SB 6582.
In the conference report, most points are unchanged from the House-approved version: Transportation Benefit Districts other than Seattle can raise their vehicle license fee to $40 without a public vote; counties can levy a 3 cent fuel tax, and Seattle a one cent fuel tax. There are also provisions to allow some TBD funds to be spent on affordable housing.
The new bill does modify and clarify the authority for a 1% Motor Vehicle Excise tax. In counties other than King with more than 400,000 residents, the authority rests with Transportation Benefit Districts. In King County, it rests with the county, and there’s an additional very important provision:
The proceeds from a motor vehicle excise tax imposed under this section may only be used to support the operations, maintenance, and capital investments for public transportation.
This removes the possibility that King County’s MVET would be used for roads.