A flurry of transportation-related bills passed the state legislature last week, with most of these bills signed by the governor on Monday.

Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1219 lists 130 specific state-owned bridges the legislature deems to be structurally deficient, creates exemptions from the State Environmental Protection Act for reconstruction on these bridges, disallows bridge reconstruction under these exemptions to be used to add lanes, and allows emergency contracting procedures. The governor has signed this bill.

ESHB 1842 creates a transit grant coordination program within WSDOT for King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties, with a requirement for two or more agencies to apply jointly for a grant. Signed by the governor.

SHB 2012 gives WSDOT some flexibility to deviate from the standard design manual in pursuit of practical project design. Signed.

ESSB 5820 removes requirements for WSDOT to advertise surplus property auctions in local newspapers, and institutes stricter processes for land exchanges. Signed.

2ndESSB 5987 contains the authority for the ST3 vote and the $16.1 billion long-term highway capital expenditure plan. STB reported and editorialized on the bill last week. THE BILL AWAITS ACTION BY THE GOVERNOR, WHICH IS NOT EXPECTED THIS WEEK.
Signed on July 15.

2ESSB 5992 adds new requirements to Washington State Ferries’ vessel construction contracting process, including design-build, and fixed-price, with allowances for change orders. Signed.

2ESB 5993 raises the trigger amount for requiring that 15% of a WSDOT project’s labor hours must be performed by apprentices from $2 million to $3 million, and requires the Department of Labor and Industries to provide contractors with an electronic option for filling out the prevailing wage survey. PENDING ACTION BY THE GOVERNOR, WHICH IS NOT EXPECTED THIS WEEK.
Signed on July 14.

2ESSB 5994 requires local governments to give WSDOT an answer within 90 days of a permit application, if at all possible, and creates new exemptions for WSDOT from the Shoreline Management Act. Signed.

2ESB 5995 adds “including congestion relief and improved freight mobility” to the state’s transportation policy mobility goal. Signed.

2ESSB 5996 attempts to streamline permitting of WSDOT projects, while including the recognized tribes, and requires design flaws costing more than $500,000 to be reported to the legislature’s transportation committees within 30 days. The governor vetoed sections of the bill, but THE SPECIFICS ARE NOT AVAILABLE ONLINE AS OF TIME OF PUBLICATION.
The governor vetoed section 9 of the bill, which called for a number of studies now redundant with studies in other signed bills, and signed the underlying bill.

2ESSB 5997 allows WSDOT to try out design-build contracting, expediting project delivery and possibly saving money. Signed.

The rest of the transportation-related bills passed earlier this year are below the fold.

Transportation bills passed earlier this year

2E2SHB 1276 prescribes procedures for the installation of Ignition Interlock Devices for repeat offenders with a history of DUI offenses, requires the IIDs to have GPS, updates procedures for mandatory blood tests, and outlaws having marijuana in the open area of a vehicle on a highway. The governor vetoed section 25 of the bill, with the result of eliminating some new regulations on blood testing and phlebotomist certification that the governor found to be unnecessary and expensive, and signed the underlying bill.

HB 1282 adds driving while in noncompliance with a child support order to the list of third-degree misdemeanors covered by the driving-with-a-suspended-license law. Signed.

ESHB 1299 is the 2015-2017 transportation appropriations bill, and adds appropriations for the 2013-2015 biennium. The governor vetoed several portions of the bill, and signed the underlying bill.

ESHB 1449 updates regulations and fees for transporting oil by railroad, pipeline, or maritime vessel. Signed.

SHB 1480 creates a $187.50 permanent license tab for intermittent-use trailers. Signed.

ESHB 1844 raises the threshold for allowed in-house ferry vessel and terminal work from $60,000 to $100,000. Between $100,000 and $200,000, contractors on a small works list get 72 hours to express interest in the work. Signed.

SHB 1851 grants locally-owned bridges that are deemed to be structurally deficient the same exemptions from the State Environmental Protection Act that WSDOT bridges have. Signed.

EHB 1868 allows Island County and San Juan County to spend money raised by the county for road purposes on maritime facilities and still remain eligible to receive Rural Arterial Trust Account funding from the state. Signed.

HB 1884 adds one-wheeled self-balancing devices powered by 2000 watts or less and limited to 20 miles per hour to the definition of Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices. EPAMDs are not allowed on fully-controlled limited-access highways, but are allowed are sidewalks, subject to some local restrictions. Signed.

HB 2181 calls for WSDOT to determine various places on I-90 and other highways where the speed limit could be increased to 75 miles per hour, and gives the Secretary of Transportation the power to increase the speed limit to 75 miles per hour on any highway. The governor vetoed section 1 of the bill, reducing the bill to merely empowering the Secretary, and signed the underlying bill.

SB 5085 adds siblings of members of the armed services who died while in service or as a result of that service to the list of eligible recipients of Gold Star license plates, and exempts widows or widowers of such servicemen and women from all annual license fees on one vehicle. Signed.

SB 5100 removes the decades-old exception for rented or leased vehicles from Department of Licensing reporting requirements, and transfers liability for unpaid infractions to the renter. Signed.

SB 5207 allows tow-truck operators to have a lunch break in their business hours, but requires a staffer to be available within 30 minutes to release impounded cars, and to cease charging for storage effective at the time someone outside the business office makes a call to request a staffer to release the car. Signed.

SB 5297 updates language for commercial vehicle registration and fuel taxes to conform with the International Registry Plan (which apportions revenue among US states and Canadian provinces) and various federal statutes, and reinstates the Aeronautics Account, which was inadvertently deleted by SHB 1883 in 2013. Signed.

SB 5307 increases the state’s reimbursement to Pierce, Whatcom, and Skagit County for county ferry operations from $1 million to $1.8 million per year, and then indexes it to inflation starting in 2017. Signed.

SB 5337 limits per diem pay for port district official and employees to no more than the per diem pay for employees of the US General Services Administration. Signed.

SSB 5362 requires a responsible alcohol permit holder, other than the driver, on or near commercial buses that serve alcohol, and bans smoking on these “party” buses. Signed.

SSB 5438 allows bicycles and mopeds to stop and proceed through traffic control signals under the same restrictions and requirements as motorcycles. Signed.

SSB 5481 requires WSDOT to implement new toll collection procedures by June 30, 2016, including email and phone notification, if available, 10 days before issuing a notice of civil penalty; gives WSDOT leeway to dismiss penalties for various circumstances, including first-time non-payment; and requires WSDOT to issue a letter of apology when it is at fault. Signed.

ESSB 5550 sets insurance requirements for rideshare companies and drivers. Signed.

ESB 5863 requires WSDOT to coordinate with the Department of Labor and Industries, rather than the Apprenticeship and Training Council, to expend funding for apprenticeship training and support. Non-federal money is to be used for the program, to the extent possible. A new WSDOT position is created for outreach to communities underrepresented in the construction workforce. Signed.

SSB 5957 creates the Pedestrian Safety Advisory Council. Signed.

A full list of bills that passed the state legislature this year is available here. You can see whether the governor signed, vetoed, or partially vetoed bills here.

10 Replies to “Tranportation Bills Passed in State Legislature This Year”

  1. Re: 5995

    1. Oh good, now that the state says that building roads relieves congestion it will start being true. (/sarcasm)

    2. Wait, that’s an emergency legislation? It was “necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions” that we build roads to relieve congestion? I’m curious what’s driving this – $5 says it’s our tunnel fiasco.

    1. The “necessary” clause is commonplace on budget bills, to avoid getting a budget bill referred to the voters via petition, which could wreak serious havoc on the functioning of government. Since 5995 is not a budget bill, I don’t get why the clause is there, either. Nor do I get why the Washington Policy Center wants to pretend that highway construction relieves congestion, except that they now appear to be pro-tolling.

  2. Still waiting for HB 1393 to give CT the authority to ask voters for an additional sales tax increase this November that could fund Swift II service.

  3. “Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1219” – So in essence this bill encourages WSDOT to wait until a bridge is structurally deficient before addressing the problem so they can bypass state EPA requirements?

    Not that the state will ever “catch-up” on replacing/improving the current deficient bridges but this seems to encourage that bad behavior perpetually?

    1. Probably not enough to change from the current practice…which is to wait until a bridge is structurally deficient because the required money is spent elsewhere.

      Politicians love these bills because they can say they are “doing something” and “cutting red tape” while “creating jobs” when in reality nothing happens unless there is money to do it. Which is the same as today.

    2. I see it more like the state is streamlining the process to get deficient bridges replaced. Something like 23% of our bridges are so they’ll always be playing catchup replacing them. For clarity, SEPA is not an EPA statute, it’s an Ecology rule. For normal replacement projects it’s cumbersome and time-consuming, personally I think it’s a good exemption. Also one the Fed’s use on some NEPA projects to reduce or eliminate sometimes years of public process.

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