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.

7 Replies to “Conference Committee Actually Improves Transit Bill: Contact Your Legislators”

  1. Contacted Adam Kline, Sharon Tomiko-Santos, and Eric Pettigrew.

    If they vote for it, you can thank me.

    1. I assume the fuel taxes can only be used for roads, correct? I’d support those, provided the MVET is linked to that. Seattle could fill a lot of potholes with that penny….

  2. Does this mean Metro and Sound Transit won’t ask for another tax hike for three years?

    Metro had tax hikes in 1984, 1990, 1998, 2000, 2006 and 2010. Sound Transit had big tax hikes in 1996 and 2008. Those two collect far more general tax revenue than their peers.

    1. You can’t just look at tax collection figures. Those are misleading. The costs of doing business here are higher. Plus, voters approved those tax hikes!

  3. My legislator’s already on board, another one I’m friends with used to drive for CT, and my sister’s rep wrote the bill. This is the trouble with living in Ballard and being around transit so long.

    Choices aren’t good ones: either move someplace where people need more convincing to vote my way, like the New England abolitionists did with Kansas, or start a campaign to encourage Rick Santorum voters to move to Ballard,like the slavers did from Missouri.

    Family necessities keep me from moving. This is real bad.

    Mark Dublin

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