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Dispatch: Session Ends. Special Session Begins.
It's over. Sort of.
The 2017 Washington State legislative session ended Sunday and Special Session began on Monday. And while Sound Transit and ST3 was the focus of debate, we are happy to report that late last week the House and Senate agreed on a final 2017 – 2019 transportation budget that includes nearly all the budget priorities we set forth at the beginning of the year.
TCC was successful in:
- Securing new revenue for an innovative congestion relief pilot program what will reduce non-peak trips throughout our state’s most congested roads, 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 will provide the level of flexibility of revenue to ensure our transportation system is well maintained and that Washington State can pursue a wide variety of transportation solutions.
The transit community also won important legislative victories, including passing two bills to make roads safer for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
- SB 5289 updates outdated distracted driving laws to include holding a mobile device while operating a vehicle;
- SB 5402 establishes a bicycle advisory council – comprised of planners, traffic engineers, emergency medical technicians, advocates, and other stakeholders – who will review bicyclist fatalities and serious injuries, and make recommendations for improving bicyclist safety.
We also defeated a number of anti-Sound Transit bills that would have undermined the agency's governance structure and ability to deliver voter-approved projects. Visit TCC’s Sound Transit bill tracker to learn more.
Though the official session ended, the legislature did not agree to a capital or operating budget. In response, the governor called a 30-day special session, which began on Monday. During this time all previously introduced bills are technically alive again. For this reason, we will continue to closely monitor all Sound Transit related legislation.
Thank you for your unwavering commitment and support to our mission and shared priorities. Your continued engagement on TCC action alerts, petition signing, and calls to your elected officials were critically important to our 2017 legislative session successes.