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Olympia- Special Session Edition

Posted by carrie@transportationchoices.org at Dec 02, 2011 05:20 PM |
I will be updating you of the Olympia highlights, every Friday on “Choice Words”, with the schedule for the following week, actions to be taken, and interesting transportation related events at the capitol. Kicking it off this week, here are a few things to watch as the special session ends and the regular session begins.

 

Special session is on, and the capitol is a buzz with legislators, lobbyists, and protesters. Governor Gregoire called lawmakers back to address the$1.52 billion deficit in the operating budget. Currently, there does not seem like there is a path to resolution to the operating budget issue, and the special session will most likely bleed into the regular session which starts 1/9/11.  I will be updating you of the Olympia highlights, every Friday on “Choice Words”, with the schedule for the following week, actions to be taken, and interesting transportation related events at the capitol.  Kicking it off this week, here are a few things to watch as the special session ends and the regular session begins.

There is a lot of chatter that there will be an attempt to generate transportation revenue by updating transportation related fees in the special session or early on in the regular session.  Some of these fees have not been updated since the 1980’s.  A recent statewide survey for the Washington Transportation Commission (WTC) shows that fifty-nine percent of those surveyed support raising transportation taxes and fees.  Last year, a fee bill (HB 2053) passed out of the House that rose over $70 million that included $13 million for special needs public transportation and $5 million for the Safe Routes to Schools grant program.

We hear that there will be attempt to alter the fee bill to reduce or eliminate money for transit, despite the fact that the WTC survey shows that 63% of folks support or oppose providing more state funding for public transit and passenger rail.  Transportation Choices Coalition and T4WA partners are prepared to ensure that any transportation revenue is balanced and includes money for reliable, safe, and healthy transportation choices.

Also, between now and the regular session, the Governor is slated to release a supplemental transportation budget in mid-December.  She will address any changes to the budget that was passed last year.  As illustrated below, that budget that dedicates 54% of funding to Highway Construction and 6% to rail and public transportation ($366 million of the 6% is federal rail monies pass through the state). See the image above. We will watch to see if the proposal cuts any of the limited amounts that currently go to public or active transportation.

Here is what is on tap next week in Olympia:

Tuesday, 12/06/11

10:00 am

Transportation, Joint Committee

Public-Private Partnerships Policy Work Group
Sen. Conf. Rms ABC
J.A. Cherberg Building

Agenda:

  1. Welcome and overview.
  2. Discussion of Conceptual P3 Implementation Plan recommendations.
  3. Financial model inputs for CRC, 509 & 167.
    1. Revenues.
    2. Initial capital costs.
    3. Long term capital costs .
    4. Operating costs.
    5. Risk registers / VFM inputs.
  4. Financial model results update.
  5. Next steps

 

Wednesday, 12/07/11

8:00 am

Transportation, Joint Committee
Senate Hearing Rm 1
J.A. Cherberg Building

Agenda:

  1. P3 Study.
  2. Ferry Management Organization Study.
  3. Ferry LNG Study.

3:30 pm

Senate Transportation

Senate Hearing Rm 1
J.A. Cherberg Building

Work Session:

  1. Operational Efficiencies 2009-present, Washington State Department of Transportation, Department of Licensing.
  2. Washington State Ferries updates:144 car vessel construction & fuel hedging program
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