Friday was the last day for bills in the state legislature to get out of fiscal or transportation committees. Budget bills are exempt from that cut-off. The next cut-off is 5 pm on Wednesday, March 8, when bills have be out of their original house.

33 transit-related bills survived Friday’s cut-off in the House.

Passed out of House:

House Bill 1018, by Rep. Tom Dent (R – Moses Lake) et al, would increase the maximum amount the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) can provide to an individual sponsor in a single Airport Aid Grant Program grant from $250,000 to $750,000. The bill passed out of the House 97-0-0-0 on February 1, and heads next to the Senate Transportation Committee.

Engrossed House Bill 1188, originally by Rep. Steve Bergquist (D – Renton) et al, would requires a child to be properly secured in a rear-facing child restraint system until the age of 2 or until he or she reaches the seat manufacturer-set weight and height limits (while in a moving automobile required to be equipped with a safety-belt system), would require a child not secured in a rear-facing seat who is under the age of 4 to be properly secured in a forward-facing child restraint system until he or she reaches the seat manufacturer-set weight or height limits, and would Requires a child not secured in a forward-or rear-facing child restraint system who is under the age of 10 to be properly secured in a child booster seat until he or she reaches the seat-manufacturer-set weight or height limits. The bill was amended on the House floor and then passed out of the House 69-28-0-1 on February 20. A floor amendment by Rep. Ed Orcutt (R – ), would require the Washington Traffic Safety Commission to produce and disseminate informational and educational materials that explain the proper use of child restraint systems, the safety risks of not properly using child restraint systems, where assistance on proper installation and use of child restraint systems can be obtained, and the penalties for not properly using child restraint systems.

SHB 1199, by the House Judiciary Committee, and originally sponsored by Rep. Morgan Irwin (R – Enumclaw) et al, would give youth courts with jurisdiction over traffic infractions jurisdiction over transit infractions as well. The committee amendment would have youths not be referred to a youth court if they have had a prior transit infraction, are under the jurisdiction of any court for unlawful transit conduct, or have convictions for unlawful transit conduct. Youth courts are for 16- and 17-year-olds only. The bill passed out of the House 98-0-0-0 on February 9, and heads next to the Senate Human Services, Mental Health & Housing Committee. The companion bill, SB 5203, was amended in that same committee on February 6, and is sitting in the Senate Rules Committee.

HB 1262 by Rep. Joan McBride (D – Kirkland) et al, would increase the minimum width for an access aisle located adjacent to an accessible van parking space from the current 60-inches mandate to 96 inches in all cases. The access aisle must be in addition to the adjacent van parking space, however, two van parking spaces may share a common adjacent access aisle. A sign will be required at the head of each access aisle that prohibits parking in the access aisle. The bill passed out of the House 97-0-0-1 on February 15, and next heads to the Senate Transportation Committee.

Substitute House Bill 1273, by the House Transportation Committee, and originally by Rep. Cindy Ryu (D – Shoreline) et al, would authorizes the Department of Licensing (DOL) to issue nondomiciled Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) and Commercial Learner’s Permits (CLPs) to individuals domiciled in a foreign country if they provide valid documentation that they are authorized to stay or work in the United States and meet certain specified federal requirements, would authorize DOL to issue nondomiciled CDLs and CLPs to individuals domiciled in other states that are out of compliance with federal CLP and CDL requirements if they meet certain specified federal requirements, and would require the nondomiciled CDL and CLP to be marked “non-domiciled” on its face. The substitute bill passed out of the House 82-15-0-1 on February 20.

HB 1615, requested by WSDOT, and sponsored by Rep. Shelley Kloba (D – Kirkland) et al, would adjust relocation assistance limits upward for owners and tenants displaced by WSDOT property acquisitions to be in line with similar assistance limit updates in the federal Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). The bill passed out of the House 91-6-0-1 on February 16, and heads next to the Senate Transportation Committee.

Passed out of House Transportation Committee:

HB 1041, requested by the Department of Licensing, and sponsored by Rep. Judy Clibborn (D – Mercer Island) et al, would require the Department of Licensing to mark standard issue driver’s licenses and identicards as non-compliant with the federal REAL ID Act, beginning July 1, 2018, and lower the fee for enhanced driver’s licenses and identicards to $90 (from $108) for the next four years. Enhanced licenses or IDs are already required to access federal facilities. Beginning next January, they will be required in order to board commercial aircraft. The bill is opposed by OneAmerica. It passed out of the House Transportation Committee 14-10 on February 21, and is in the House Rules Committee. The companion bill, SB 5008, is on the Senate’s second reading floor calendar.

SHB 1105, by the House Transportation Committee, and originally by Rep. Derek Stanford (D – Bothell) et al, would expand the requirements imposed on railroad contract crew hauling vehicles. Union Pacific and BNSF testified against the high insurance requirements in the bill. The committee amendment significantly reduced the insurance requirement. The substitute bill passed out of committee 17-5-2 on February 20. The companion bill, SB 5759, did not get a hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee.

Substitute House Bill 1149, by the House Transportation Committee, and originally sponsored by Rep. Mike Chapman (D – Port Angeles) et al, would add an exemption to the statute limiting front extensions from vehicles to three feet for public transit vehicles with bike racks that do not extend more than four feet beyond the front bumper. Transit agencies using 3-bike racks have had to undergo an annual permitting process to get to use their racks. The committee substitute bill switched the exemption in the original bill from no limit to four feet beyond the bumper, and passed out of committee February 1. The bill is on the second reading floor calendar. The companion bill, Senate Bill 5147, passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee on January 31.

HB 1205, by Rep. Jesse Young (R – Gig Harbor) et al, would provide a right of repurchase to property owners whose properties were originally acquired through condemnation by the Washington State Department of Transportation and are later declared surplus properties. The condemnation must have been no more than 10 years before declaring the property surplus, and the previous owner must respond within 30 days of notification. The bill passed out of the House Transportation Committee 24-0 on February 23 and is the House Rules Committee.

SHB 1331, by the House Transportation Committee, and originally sponsored by Rep. Christine Kilduff (D – University Place) et al, would allow county ferry districts to construct, purchase, operate, and maintain any type of ferry, as well as the necessary landings. The bill was amended in committee to allow ferry districts to issue bonds in support of any type of ferry, and trigger a referendum if a ferry district is proposed for less than the whole county. Pierce County requested the bill, to help fund its car ferry operations, which are currently funded out of federal grants, fares, and general county funds. The bill is being promoted as a way to reduce fares. The substitute bill passed out of committee 20-5 on February 15, and now sits in the House Rules Committee. The companion bill, SB 5403, was heard in the Senate Transportation Committee on February 20.

SHB 1332, by the House Transportation Committee, and originally by Rep. Jake Fey (D – Tacoma) et al, would give counties the same power to remove nuisance items on county roads that WSDOT has on state highways. In particular, logs next to roads would have to be removed within 30 days, and counties would be authorized to trespass on private property to remove trees that threaten the safety of road users. The committee amendment limits the declaration of a public nuisance to items that imminently threaten to damage or endanger a county bridge or road and items that obstruct, block, or threaten the normal use of the roadway. The substitute bill passed out of committee 15-9-1 on February 15, and currently sits in the House Rules Committee.

SHB 1371, by the House Transportation Committee, and originally sponsored by Rep. Jessyn Farrel (D – Seattle) et al, would ban the use of most personal electronic devices while driving or sitting in traffic. Banned activities would include holding the device, T-E-X-T-I-N-G, and watching a video. There are several exemptions listed, including contacting emergency services. The committee amendment provides exemptions for radios, emergency vehicles, tow trucks, and vehicle touch screens, but also expands the ban from public highways to public roadways. The substitute bill passed out of committee 14-10-1 on February 15, and currently sits in the House Rules Committee. The companion bill, SB 5289, was heard in the Senate Transportation Committee on February 7.

HB 1410, by Rep. Beth Doglio (D – Olympia) et al, would raise Intercity Transit’s allowed sales tax rate from 0.9% to 1.2%, with approval by its voters. Its current sales tax rate is 0.8%. The bill passed out of the House Transportation Committee 15-9 on February 23, and is now in the House Rules Committee. The companion bill, SB 5288, is in the Senate Rules Committee.

HB 1480, by Rep. Dave Hayes (R – Camano Island) et al, would reduce the state’s ability to suspend a driver’s license for noncriminal offenses. A person’s license would be suspended when he or she fails to respond to a notice of traffic infraction or for failure to comply with the terms of a notice of a traffic infraction only if that driver has received two or more outstanding traffic infractions for moving violations on at least two separate occasions at the time the determination of qualification to receive a suspension occurs. This allows officers to give verbal warnings to drivers to pay their tickets, similar to the warnings we get for not paying fares on Link and RapidRide. It is partially in response to the state Supreme Court ruling that the state cannot punish a person for being poor. Some of the testimony asserted that people need to be able to drive in order to survive in society, and can’t be productive without driving. This author would vehemently disagree (while agreeing with the bill), but whatever. The bill passed out of the House Transportation Committee 23-2 on February 15, and sits in the House Rules Committee.

SHB 1490, by the House Transportation Committee, and originally sponsored by Rep. Fey et al, would eliminate the requirement that cities and towns provide pavement preservation rating information to WSDOT on a certain percentage of their arterial networks, for 2017-2019 only, while the cities, towns, and WSDOT work on more useful reporting requirements. The committee amendment changed the original’s bill permanent elimination into a temporary one. The substitute bill passed out of committee 24-0 on February 23, and is in the House Rules Committee.

SHB 1502, by the House Transportation Committee, requested by the Department of Transportation, and originally sponsored by Rep. Chapman et al, authorizes and provides guidance for WSDOT’s digital advertising program and directs revenues into the Motor Vehicle Account. Those wishing to avoid the ads on WSDOT’s apps would be able to buy ad-free versions of the apps. The committee amendment clarifies that the bill does not affect WSDOT’s existing advertising authority for the ferries division. The substitute bill passed out of committee 24-0 on February 8, and is on the second reading floor calendar. The companion bill, SB 5366, was similarly amended in the Senate Transportation Committee on February 6, and now sits in the Senate Rules Committee.

HB 1606, by Rep. Liz Pike (R – Camas) et al, would require transportation benefit districts to hold a public hearing prior to imposing a fee or charge by a vote of the governing board. No examples were cited of a TBD skipping this step. The bill passed out of the House Transportation Committee 24-0 on February 8, and is on the second reading floor calendar.

2ndSHB 1614, by the House Transportation Committee, and originally sponsored by Rep. Roger Goodman (D – Kirkland) et al, would strengthen penalties for impaired driving. Previous impaired driving offenses could not be vacated for 10 year. A person caught driving impaired must remain in custody until court action if she or he is being arraigned for another offense relating to impaired driving. A court may replace incarceration with Sobriety Program monitoring involving the use of an ignition interlock. The driver’s license will be suspended if she or he willfully fails to appear for a court date. The 2nd substitute bill, replacing the one passed out of the House Public Safety Committee, passed out of the House Transportation Committee 24-0 on February 23, and is now in the House Rules Committee.

HB 1656, by Rep. Dent, would establish a community aviation revitalization loan program within WSDOT. The bill passed out of the House Transportation Committee 22-1 on February 20

HB 1722, by Reps. Steve Kirby (D – Tacoma) and Brandon Vick (R – Felida), would phase out the issuance of licenses to wholesale vehicle dealers. Testimony pointed out numerous criminal investigations in other states of vehicles tied to Washington wholesale dealers, and the ease of getting a wholesale dealers license here. As it stands, retail dealers can already conduct wholesale sales. The bill passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee 23-1 on February 21.

HB 1795, by Rep. Kloba et al, would require the Washington Transportation Safety Commission to convene the Cooper Jones Bicyclist Safety Advisory Council. The bill passed out of the House Transportation Committee 17-6-2 on February 15, and now sits in the House Rules Committee. The companion bill, SB 5402, was amended in the Senate Transportation Committee on February 13, and is now on the Senate’s second reading floor calendar.

SHB 1860, by the House Transportation Committee, and originally sponsored by Rep. Jake Fey (D – Tacoma) et al, would require cities, towns, and unincorporated areas within certain public transportation benefit areas to be proportionally represented on the board of the PTBA. Multiple towns could be represented by a single elected official. The bill did not specify a formula. The bill would apply to Pierce Transit, Spokane Transit, and Clark County C-Trans. Transportation Choices Coalition testified in favor. The committee amendment disallowed any city from having a majority on the board, even if that city has the majority of the PTBA’s population. The substitute bill passed out of committee 14-10 on February 21.

HB 1958, by Rep. Mark Harmsworth (R – Mill Creek), would prohibit the imposition of regional transit authority property taxes on less than a whole parcel of property. Fifty property owners in Snohomish County, none of whom vote in the ST district, are affected by this bill. The bill passed out of the House Transportation Committee 24-0 on February 21.

HB 2003, by Rep. Kloba et al, would add companies that dispatch taxicab vehicles or vehicles for hire to the list or organizations that may apply for special parking privileges. The parking placards and special license plates for these companies would be for vehicles equipped with wheelchair accessible lifts or ramps for the transport of persons with disabilities and that are regularly dispatched and used in the transport of such persons. The bill passed out of the House Transportation Committee 24-0 on February 21.

HB 2066, by Rep. Joel Kretz (R – Wauconda), would authorize Okanogan County to create a regional transportation planning organizations. The bill passed out of the House Transportation Committee 24-0 on February 22, and is in the House Rules Committee.

HB 2087, by Rep. Melanie Stambaugh (R – Puyallup), would apply the rules around “emergency zones” on highways to “work zones” as well, to protect road workers. The bill passed out of the House Transportation Committee 24-0 on February 21. The companion bill, SB 5841, did not get a hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee.

HB 2095, by Rep. Sharon Wylie (D – Vancouver) et al, would encourage the Governor to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Governor of Oregon, regarding the construction of a new I-5 Bridge, that would achieve several purposes, including setting up a joint Oregon-Washington legislative action committee, and examining all potential mass transit options. The bill passed out of the House Transportation Committee 14-10 on February 22. The companion bill, SB 5806, was amended in the Senate Transportation Committee and passed out on February 21.

Passed out of other committees

SHB 1086, by the House Environment Committee, and originally sponsored by Brian Blake (D – Aberdeen) et al, would direct lead agencies to aspire to complete environmental impact statements (EISs) within 2 years. If an EIS is not finished in 2 years, a report is made to the legislature. At the behest of Futurewise, the bill was amended to allow the project proponent and lead agency to agree to a longer timeline for the EIS. The substitute bill passed out of the House Environment Committee 8-0 on February 2, and is in the House Rules Committee. The companion bill, SSB 5438, is in the Senate Rules Committee.

2SHB 1144, by the House Appropriation Committee, and originally sponsored by Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D – Burien) et al, would modify state greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, moving from 25 percent below 1990 levels to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2035, and from 50 percent below 1990 levels to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. (This is actually what SHB 1144 does. The second substitute bill was not available at time of publication.) The second substitute bill passed out of the House Appropriations Committee 18-14-1 on February 21, and is in the House Rules Committee.

HB 1268, by Rep. Harmsworth et al, would exempt pedestrian walks, paths, sidewalks, and sidewalk extensions from review under the State Environmental Policy Act, so long as the construction or addition does not result in additional lanes for automobiles. Futurewise testified against the bill because it would allow sidewalk construction in wetlands and other critical areas. The bill passed out of the House Environment Committee 9-0 on February 14, and is currently in the House Rules Committee.

HB 1395, by Reps. Strom Peterson (D – Edmonds) and John Koster (R – Arlington), would allow public transportation benefit area authorities to use job order contracting for performing public works projects. The bill passed out of the House Capital Budget Committee 19-0 on February 7, and is on the Senate’s second reading floor calendar. The companion bill, SB 5146, passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee on February 14.

SHB 1591, and originally sponsored by Reps. Brad Klippert (R – Kennewick) and Hayes, would triple score (three points for each conviction, instead of the current two points) prior Vehicular Assault and Vehicular Homicide convictions when calculating an offender score for the sentencing on a Vehicular Assault-DUI conviction. Under current law, which is unaffected by this bill, “substantial bodily harm” is required for a vehicular assault conviction. Sentencing would range from 3-9 months incarceration for no previous convictions, to 63-84 months for 3 previous convictions. Currently, a 4th vehicular assault conviction would result in 33-43 months jail time. The bill says nothing about removal of driving privileges. The original bill imposed a 5-year enhancement for each vehicular-assault/DUI conviction. The substitute bill passed out of the House Public Safety Committee 11-0 on February 9, and is currently in the House Rules Committee.

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27 transit-related bills survived Friday’s cut-off in the Senate.

Senate Bills passed Senate

SB 5037, by Sen. Mike Padden (R – Spokane Valley) et al, would make driving under the influence a felony on the 4th occurrence within 10 years. Incarceration would be 13-17 months. Per testimony, Washington is the only state that waits until the 5th occurrence to make it a felony. The bill passed the Senate 41-0-0-8 on February 23.

SB 5049, sponsored by Sen. Curtis King (R – Yakima), would requires all local and state entities that have eminent domain powers to abide by the Federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 and the similar state act of 1971, regardless of funding source. The bill passed the Senate 48-0-0-1 on February 8, and has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

Senate Bills passed out of committee

Senate Bill 5001, by the Senate Transportation Committee, and originally by Sen. Steve O’Ban (R – University Place) et al, would convert Sound Transit to having a Board of 11 members elected from single-member districts. Mayor Marilyn Strickland of Tacoma was the sole testifier against the bill. A line-up of known opponents of Sound Transit testified in favor of the bill. The committee amendment reduced the board from nineteen to eleven members, and began the gerrymandering process by requiring that no more than five districts be wholly within King County. The substitute bill passed out of committee 9-4. The companion bill, HB 1029, did not get a hearing in the House Transportation Committee.

Senate Bill 5008, requested by the Department of Licensing, and sponsored by Sens. King et al, would require the Department of Licensing to mark standard issue driver’s licenses and identicards as non-compliant with the federal REAL ID Act, beginning July 1, 2018, and lower the fee for enhanced driver’s licenses and identicards to $90 (from $108) for the next four years. Enhanced licenses or IDs are already required to access federal facilities. Beginning next January, they will be required in order to board commercial aircraft.

The ACLU of Washington and the Washington Community Action Network testified against the bill. The bill passed out of committee 11-2 on January 24, with Sens. Rebecca Saldaña (D – Seattle) and Kevin Van de Wege (D – Sequim) voting No. It is currently on the second reading calendar, awaiting floor action. Its companion bill, HB 1041, is in the House Rules Committee.

Committee Substitute Senate Bill 5018, by the Senate Transportation Committee, and originally by Sens. Bob Hasegawa (D – Renton) and Patty Kuderer (D – Clyde Hill), would grant WSDOT and appropriate local authorities the ability to allow wheelchair-accessible taxis access to high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.

WSDOT and local authorities are currently allowed to grant HOV-lane access to:
* public transportation vehicles;
* motorcycles;
* private motor vehicles carrying a minimum of a specified number of passengers; and
* certain private transportation provider vehicles with the capacity to carry eight or more passengers if such use does not interfere with the efficiency, reliability, and safety of public transportation operations.

There are currently 53 wheelchair-accessible taxis operating in the state, and none of them can carry eight or more passengers.

At the request of Toby Olson from the Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment, the phrase “wheelchair-bound” was removed. The committee substitute bill passed out of committee February 1, and is now in the Senate Rules Committee, waiting to be placed on the second reading calendar.

SB 5146, by Sen. Marko Liias (D – Everett) et al, would allow public transportation benefit area authorities to use job order contracting for performing public works projects. The bill passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee 12-0 on February 14 and is on the Senate’s second reading floor calendar. The companion bill, HB 1395, passed out of the House Capital Budget Committee on February 7 is on the House second reading floor calendar.

Committee Substitute Senate Bill 5147, by the Senate Transportation Committee, and originally by Sens. Steve Hobbs (D – Lake Stevens) and King, would add an exemption to the statute limiting front extensions from vehicles to three feet for public transit vehicles with bike racks that do not extend more than four feet beyond the front bumper. The committee amendment switched the exemption from no limit to four feet beyond the bumper. The substitute bill passed out of committee January 31, and is now in the Senate Rules Committee, waiting to be placed on the second reading calendar. The companion bill, HB 1149 was similarly amended and passed out of the House Transportation Committee February 1, and is now on the second reading calendar.

SSB 5203, by the Senate Human Service, Mental Health & Housing (HSMHH) Committee, and originally sponsored by Sen. Lynda Wilson (R – Vancouver) et al, would give youth courts with jurisdiction over traffic infractions jurisdiction over transit infractions as well. The committee amendment would allow district and municipal courts to create youth courts. The substitute bill passed out of the Senate HSMHH Committee 4-0 on February 6, and is sitting in the Senate Rules Committee. The companion bill, SHB 1199, passed out of the House on February 9, and is now in the Senate HSMHH Committee, awaiting a hearing.

SB 5227, by Sens. King et al, would require cars to stop at railroad track crossings not just for trains (currently the only requirement), but for other “on-track equipment” (including streetcars and one-car consists). Areas near crossings would be required to be kept clear so drivers can see coming trains or on-track equipment. The bill passed out of committee February 6, and is on the Senate’s second reading floor calendar.

SB 5288, by Sen. Sam Hunt (D – Olympia) et al, would raise the sales tax Intercity Transit could collect from 0.9% to 1.2%. Raising the tax rate would require voter approval. The bill passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee 9-0-3 on February 6. It is in the Senate Rules Committee, waiting to be placed on the second reading calendar. Its companion bill, HB 1410, failed to pass out of the House Transportation Committee by the cut-off date.

SB 5289, by the Senate Transportation Committee, and originally by Sen. Ann Rivers (R – La Center) et al, would ban holding or otherwise using a personal electronic device while driving or stopped in traffic. Exemptions would include summoning or driving an emergency vehicle, use of two-way radios, time-sensitive communications with dispatchers by transit employees, and commercial drivers using devices as allowed by federal law. This law would supercede local laws, as well as the current laws for using cell phones and texting while driving. The bill also creates a secondary traffic infraction of “distracted driving”, that can only be enforced as secondary to a simultaneous offense. The original bill didn’t have all the exemptions and didn’t create the secondary infraction. The substitute bill passed out of committee 8-4-2 on February 21, and is in the Senate Rules Committee. The companion bill, SHB 1371, is in the House Rules Committee.

SB 5317 Concerning the payment of certain required costs of the Tacoma Narrows toll bridge, by Sen. Jan Angel (R – Port Orchard) et al, would creates a new Tacoma Narrows Toll Bridge Sufficient Minimum Balance Account to cover unexpected facility costs, to be replenished annually from the Connecting Washington Account to the amount determined by the Transportation Commission as the sufficient minimum balance; and would direct that funds currently set aside as the sufficient minimum balance in the existing Tacoma Narrows Toll Bridge Account must be used only to mitigate future toll charges or pay deferred sales tax after tolls are no longer collected on the bridge. The Washington State Transportation Commission expressed concerns about how this would change the financing of the bridge. The bill passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee on 8-4-1 on February 23, and is in the Senate Rules Committee.

SB 5340, requested by the Department of Labor & Industries, sponsored by the Senate Ways & Means Committee, and originally sponsored by Sen. Karen Keiser (D – Des Moines) et al, would allow L&I to perform random inspections on minor alterations for conveyances and installations of private residential stairway chair lifts, instead of having to inspect every single job. Hopefully, this will make state inspectors more readily available to inspect commercial vertical conveyance repairs, enabling escalators and elevators at Link stations to get back up and running faster. The substitute bill passed out of committee 19-0-2 on February 24, and is in the Senate Rules Committee. The companion bill, HB 1408, failed to get out of the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee.

SB 5365, requested by WSDOT, and sponsored by Sen. King et al, would adjust relocation assistance limits upward for owners and tenants displaced by WSDOT property acquisitions to be in line with similar assistance limit updates in the federal Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). The bill passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee on February 6, and is in the Senate Rules Committee waiting to be placed on second reading. The companion bill, HB 1615, passed in the House on February 16.

Substitute Senate Bill 5366, by the Senate Transportation Committee, requested by WSDOT, and originally sponsored by Sen. Steve Hobbs et al, would authorize WSDOT to sell advertising on WSDOT websites and social media, as well as sell a paid version of its mobile application to users who do not wish to see advertising. All revenues generated by these sales would be deposited into the Motor Vehicle Account. WSDOT is directed to adopt standards for advertising that prohibit products or services that are offensive, political, or that promote unsafe behavior. The amended bill clarifies that the authority and direction given in the bill do not affect WSDOT’s existing advertising statutory authority for the ferries division. The bill passed out of committee on February 6. It is in the Senate Rules Committee, waiting to be placed on the second reading calendar. Its similarly committee-amended companion bill, CSHB 1502, passed out of the House Transportation Committee on February 8.

SB 5378, sponsored by Sen. Tim Sheldon (D – Potlatch) et al, would authorize a two year pilot program allowing motorcycles to pass a vehicle in the same lane as the vehicle being overtaken, subject to specific operational limitations. It would also open the shoulder of a limited access WSDOT facility for all motorcycles when that lane is opened for the operation of public transportation vehicles, under the same time periods and conditions. The committee amendment removes the restriction of a motorcycle having to pass on the left-hand side of a vehicle traveling in the left-most lane of traffic. The committee substitute bill passed out of committee 9-2-1 on February 8, and is on the Senate’s second reading floor calendar.

SB 5382, by Sen. Liias et al, would allow homeless minors to get an identicard from the Department of Licensing at cost. The bill passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee 9-1 on February 13, and is on the Senate’s second reading floor calendar.

SB 5392, by Sen. Christine Rolfes (D – Bainbridge Island) et al, would alter the composition of ferry advisory boards to match practice, and would require seeking input from these boards on several aspects of ferry operations. Ferry advisory committee members were the main pushers of this bill, while Washington State Ferries had concerns about the time and work required by the bill, and Washington State Transportation Commission testimony characterized the current methodologies as capturing the views of the ‘silent majority’ of ferry riders who do not attend FAC meetings. The bill passed 13-0-1 out of the Senate Transportion Committee on February 21. The companion bill, HB 1528, did not get out of the House Transportation Committee.

SB 5402, by the Senate Transportation Committee, and originally sponsored by Sen. Liias et al, would require the Washington Transportation Safety Commission to convene the Cooper Jones Bicyclist Safety Advisory Council. The committee amendment reduces the Bicycle Council’s work span from four years down to two years. The substitute bill passed out of committee 12-0 on February 13, and is now on the Senate’s second reading floor calendar. The companion bill, HB 1795, passed out of the House Transportation Committee on February 15, and now sits in the House Rules Committee.

SSB 5403, by the Senate Transportation Committee, and originally sponsored by Sens. O’Ban and Steve Conway (D – Conway), would allow a county ferry district to construct, purchase, operate, and maintain any type of ferry. The practical effect is to allow Pierce County to fund its car ferries from ferry district funds. The substitute bill passed out of committee 14-0 on February 21, and is in the Senate Rules Committee. The companion bill, SHB 1331, is in the House Rules Committee.

SSB 5438, by the Senate Energy, Environment & Telecommunications Committee, and originally sponsored by Sen. John Braun (R – Centralia) et al, would direct lead agencies to aspire to complete environmental impact statements (EISs) within 2 years. The committee amended the bill to have the Department of Ecology give a biennial report to the legislature detailing how much time it is taking to complete EISs. The substitute bill passed out of committee 9-0 on February 0, and is in the Senate Rules Committee. The companion bill, SHB 1086, is in the House Rules Committee.

SSB 5508, by the Senate Transportation Committee, and originally sponsored by Sen. Brad Hawkins (R – East Wenatchee) et al, would create a two-year registration period that allows vehicle and vessel owners the option to pay the annual taxes and fees related to their vehicle registration biennially. The committee amendment added vessels. The substitute bill passed out of committee 11-0 on February 13, and is in the Senate Rules Committee.

SSB 5620, by the Senate Transportation Committee, and originally sponsored by Sen. King et al, would create a statewide regulatory program for transportation network companies under the Department of Licensing. The bill is lengthy, so check out the bill report. A substitute bill passed out of committee 10-3 February 21, and is in the Senate Rules Committee.

SB 5649, by Sens. Hawkins and Rebecca Saldaña (D – Seattle) would allow Okanogan County to form a regional transportation planning organization. The bill passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee 11-0 on February 13, and is on the Senate’s second reading floor calendar.

SB 5785, by Sen. Joe Fain (R – Auburn) and Saldaña would expand the availability of the low-income rebate program for transportation benefit districts to districts with a city of 75,000 or more. Currently, Seattle and King County are the only eligible participants. The bill passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee 14-0 on February 21, and is in the Senate Rules Committee.

SSB 5806, by the Senate Transportation Committee, and originally sponsored by Sen. Annette Cleveland (D – Vancouver) et al, would establish a bi-state legislative task force to begin the process for the construction of a new I-5 Bridge, that would achieve several purposes, including examining all potential mass transit options. The committee amendment replaced a Memorandum of Understanding between the governors with a directly-established legislative task force. The transit element was left intact. The substitute bill passed out of committee 14-0 on February 21. The companion bill, HB 2085, passed out of the House Transportation Committee on February 22.

SSB 5837, by the Senate Transportation Committee, and originally sponsored by Sen. Saldaña et al, would encourages a reexamination of HOV lane access rules, looking specifically at the impacts of allowing vehicles that deliver or collect blood, tissue, or blood components into the lanes. The original bill sought to have WSDOT conduct a 2-year pilot project of allowing these medical vehicles use some HOV lanes, before the committee amendment. The substitute bill passed out of committee 13-0 on February 23.

16 Replies to “60 Transit-Related Bills Survive Fiscal Committee Cut-off”

  1. Just to kick off discussion.

    1. I don’t like people of any age who assault bus drivers. But also have a real problem with trying who are below voting age as adults. My solution? Make voting age and age of minimum age of being treated like an adult for punishment the same age.

    2. Instead of choosing transit governing boards by either election or blanket appointment, require that selection pool be limited to people with actual experience with public transit.

    3. Did anybody ever think that with each category of vehicles permitted in HOV lanes, the lanes slow down? Also: why should lane specifically intended to make transit faster allow any motorcycles at all?

    Would you pave LINK viaduct between Rainier Beach and Angle Lake and let motorcycles on it? This isn’t about occupant count. It’s about every single collision being a hundred percent fatality.

    And good chance a transit driver will be charged with negligent homicide. Also about writing laws while under the influence of less common sense than God gave a gopher. 13-17 months our of office good minimum.

    4. Also, Brent, do you really think the State should be able to pull somebody’s driver’s license for failure to pay child support? Wouldn’t child support be more forthcoming from someone with a good driving record who can earn a living?

    Mark Dublin

    1. 1. I agree. A crime really has to be exceptional in my book to warrant the suspect being treated as an adult. A 17 year old walks into a grocery store, shoots the cashier, and then grabs the money — treat him as an adult. A 15 year old acts like a jerk and slaps the bus driver (then runs off) — treat him as a juvenile. From a deterrence standpoint, the key is really the chance of prosecution. If there is a cop on the bus, I guarantee you that kid doesn’t do a thing. But if he feels like he can get away with it every single time, then he is more likely to act like a jerk. No kid wants to spend half his time talking to counselors, or doing community service.

      2. That would be progress, but I would still prefer direct election. I feel the subject is complicated enough to warrant the various candidates spelling out what they would do, or at a minimum, what they bring to the table. That makes more sense than electing judges (which we do around here).

      3. I always thought the motorcycle rule was weird, but I would imagine it came into being right around the oil crisis days (when car pooling was at its peak). The lanes were designed in part to cut oil consumption, and most motorcycles are way more efficient. But as you go down that road (so to speak) you start including hybrids, or electrics, and next thing you know, you are absolutely right — the special lane isn’t so special anymore (it is too crowded). That being said, the biggest problem we have is that most of the HOV lanes are 2 person, not 3. Adding in a handful of wheelchair taxis really isn’t a big deal. Oh, and the funny thing about motorcyclists in the bus lane. They are probably way less likely to die. I would trust a professional driver over an amateur, no matter what the vehicle.

      4. I agree. Like it or not, a lot of people are dependent on there car. The only reason to take away their ability to drive is if they are a hazard to the public.

      1. The motorcycle thing is a Federal requirement, apparently keeping two wheeled vehicles moving (where angular momentum helps keep upright) is considered safer than having them stationary in traffic. It’s the same reason many states allow you to pass on the line between lanes.

      2. Stopped or slowing motorcycles are rear-ended at a higher frequency than cars, if i remember correctly.

      3. Thanks, Ross. But here’s my main point. If we’re going to grant adulthood by virtue of exceptionally bad crimes, shouldn’t we also do the same for exceptional responsibility, capability, knowledge, understanding and general good citizenship?

        The tribal world- meaning societies whose basic unit is the far-extended family, mankind’s oldest form of government- considers a 16-year-old to be a full grown-up, though an inexperienced one. I think this is Nature’s own mandate- which our society is constantly punished for contradicting.

        If I’d received at age 17 the respect I’m shown now that I’m 71, I would not have spent the intervening years braced for armed, open, and fully justified civil war against authority in general. In the 1950’s ,even good, studious children experienced school as jail.

        Including classic prison realities of good behavior rewarded with cruelty from classmates who hated goodie goodies, and school authorities who didn’t like us either. Bad kids were their buddies.

        During my years on the Route 7, learned that speaking to passengers of any age with professionalism and respect created the most orderly bus. Along with skill and reputation of unobtrusively using my radio to have police waiting next stop if it didn’t work.

        “Pre-ordered Police Presence” seemed to work better than drivers aboard buses. Though requires serious training, coordination and communication at all levels, radio supervisors, drivers,and police.

        When Metro finally- after much delay- got some serious policing along the route, most grateful passengers were the young people themselves. Who’d had enough of being disrespected by allowing a small minority to victimize them. As would’ve happened long since for older passengers.

        Motorcycles and transit? Never liked either the name “High Occupancy Vehicle”, or its inclusion of express transit vehicles. Taxis, carpools, motorcycles? Fine. But nobody would allow similar vehicles to share LINK tracks. For same reasons, buses also need their own lanes. Separated from all other traffic by barriers.

        Mark

  2. A good rundown of transportation related measures in the legislature. Personally, I think all PTBA’s should be allowed to go up to 1.2% upon voter approval. I’m not sure what to think about the PTBA board requirements, it may make it more fairer to the smaller cities, but the larger cities need an equal representation. As for the Sound Transit board, I think having an elected positions or two per county is not a bad thing, nor is reducing the size of the board, but not the entire board.

    1. Mr. Z, I seem to remember that around the time King County took over Metro, the jail guards union took some spite out on King County, and its voters, by reducing the size of the Metro Council.

      I’ve never seen anything benefit by being understaffed. Really think that, public or private, about forty years of deliberately running short on employees (private, to save money, public to humiliate Government) are what’s causing our country to literally fall apart.

      What’s you thinking about why a smaller Sound Transit board would work better?

      Mark

      1. One of Sound Transit’s problems has been trying to answer the question of what exactly they are. With the introduction of LINK light rail and now ST III it has made the rift even larger, of Suburban vs. Urban, Capital Projects vs. Operations. In my opinion they never have really been able to find out who they are and what they are really there to do. I think with a smaller board, still large enough for fair representation from all areas, but not the current 19 person behemoth they may be able to better answer those questions and focus on their many priorities. Up until now, it seems operations has always taken a back seat to capital projects, and only with LINK’s large ridership gains and the growing pains associated with that, plus the new CEO are they actually starting to focus more energy into operations. Which, is where ST III should have been to begin with, but that’s another story. Having a smaller board may make it easer for them to make quorum, discuss issues amongst themselves, and easer to get involved into issues rather than having to deal with 20 separate board members. I do like having at least one elected seat per county on the board as well, to give citizens whom are interested and whom are hopefully users of the system the ability to help govern it.

      2. The counterargument is that they do know who they are and they’re doing it. The rift between suburban vs urban, capital vs operations, may not be a lack of identity but an external opinion that it should be something different than it is. My impression is the ST board likes what it’s doing, the feds like what it’s doing, it’s only some constituents who don’t. Maybe Rob Johnson wishes Link could be more urban, but I don’t want to put words into his mouth. I’ve seen no indication that Murray or McGinn or O’Brien think Link is insufficiently urban, and the suburban members certainly don’t. Perhaps having Avgeek Joe on the board could improve that, but I don’t see how a smaller board would. A smaller board would just mean that large cities like Seattle would have just one member on the board (the mayor and possibly one county councilmember) rather than multiple people, so it would make Seattle’s influence even less. That’s the same principle as every state must have two senators and one house rep. We can’t give East King no representation so they must have at least one member, and if Seattle has one member then they’re equal even though one has more population than the other.

        Is the board having a problem with making a quorum, discussing issues among themselves, and coming to an agreement? What evidence is there for this?

        As for capital vs operations, is there really anything wrong with the current setup? Who cares if ST contracts out operations to other agencies? Or are you talking about escalators and elevators and not enough trains? It’s not clear that a smaller board would have made a difference in those.

    2. Is the ST board too large? Why? More seats means a greater opportunity for a few above-average representatives.

    3. Except for the Secretary of Transportation they are all already elected. Having them be elected to “general responsibility” offices goes a long way to ensuring that they aren’t ideological monsters, at least in the Puget Sound region where the majority of voters are at least mildly “progressive”.

      Would you like having the Port of Seattle Commissioners running transit? Well, that’s what you’d get, or something very like it. The only people running for the post will be folks with “skin in the game”. There will of course be some union-supported candidates, but the vast majority will be developers, suppliers of construction materials, and auto dealers. Those are people for whom sprawl is profitable; they won’t be voting for “Urban” transit.

      1. The problem is none are actually elected to run transit.
        I’d by fine with a system of full-time appointed supervisors, BTW. I’m just not a fan of having mayors doing it, since they have other things to deal with,

  3. I think that the Sound Transit Board is handling as best it can the main fact of today’s transit scene. That the health of our region requires that most of us be ready to lead regional lives. As many of us have been for years.

    Many of us don’t like being forced to change residence more than once every few years. But I think a lot of us are actually coming to like different work-scenes different-days. When regional transit becomes good enough to make this easy, it’ll finally be serving its purpose.

    Elected or appointed, while representation by neighborhood, city, or county is natural, it’ll become ever more important to transit that its governing board above all meet the regional needs of their individual constituencies.

    Mark

  4. Can someone explain to me why the ACLU is against the REAL ID label on driver’s licenses? I imagine the idea behind it was to expedite the process at the airport?

  5. I have this to say about motorcyles –
    Motorcycles are typically less than 4 feet wide, as opposed to the 8.5 foot wide that must be accommodated for cars and trucks.
    If everyone used motorcycles, you could double the number of lanes on every road in the country within months. That’s why there is some logic to allowing them in HOV lanes – they are carrying the max passenger capacity that they are designed for.

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