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Dispatch: Budget Agreement, Shutdown Averted
Late Friday evening the legislature passed a $43.7 billion operating budget for 2017-2019, barely meeting the constitutional June 30 deadline and narrowly avoiding a government shutdown. The biggest sticking point on the budget deal was how to meet the State Supreme Court’s McClearly decision requirement to adequately fund basic K-12 education.
Fortunately, most of TCC's legislative priorities were secured in the 2017-2019 transportation budget, passed in late April. As we reported then, TCC successfully won several important transportation victories, including:
Securing new revenue for an innovative congestion relief pilot program that will reduce non-peak trips throughout our state’s most congested roads. This is an important victory, as it is the first time in many years that additional money was secured for trip reduction strategies.
Maintaining funding commitments to bike and pedestrian investments, including the Safe Routes to School program and public transportation programs.
Authorizing federal funding for the Washington State Transportation Commission to conduct a pilot study on an innovative pay-per-mile user fee that could provide the level and flexibility of revenue needed to ensure our transportation system is well maintained and that Washington State can pursue a wide variety of transportation solutions.
Defeating attacks on Sound Transit and the ST3 voter-approved initiative.
Despite a year when TCC and partners worked hard to overcome baseless and multiple attacks to the ST3 voter-approved funding package, the final operating budget agreement included two new revenue sources - a tax on internet sales and on bottled water - that will generate additional money for transit.
Looking ahead, the third 30-day special session will end July 20. Passing a capital budget is the final piece of business the legislature is required to take up. We anticipate they will convene on July 10 to begin capital budget negotiations and will have a deal before the July 20 deadline.
Nonetheless, attacks on Sound Transit will continue and TCC remains committed to ensuring the voter-approved ST3 package is not rolled back by any measure. Visit TCC’s Sound Transit bill tracker to learn more.