Washington’s 2021 legislative session kicks off today and will look a little different from previous years. Due to COVID-19, this year’s session is all virtual. This year is a “regular session,” lasting 105 days and scheduled to adjourn on April 25. Special sessions of up to 30 days may be called if more time is needed.
TCC is focusing on the following priorities:
Pass a Clean & Just Transportation Package
Washington needs a clean and just transportation system that reduces climate pollution, improves community health, increases economic opportunity, and creates sustainable alternatives to congestion management. To achieve this, TCC is leading the Clean & Just Transportation table, a group of climate, mobility, environmental justice, and labor partners. The Clean & Just Transportation campaign is a part of the Climate Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy and an Environmental Priorities Coalition priority.
During this session, we are working to pass a new transportation package that supports clean and just ways to fund and invest in transportation, and to shift away from roadway expansion.
A Clean & Just transportation package:
- Ensures 35% of investments in environmental justice priority areas
- Increases travel by healthy, sustainable modes of transportation
- Transitions to clean transportation
- Ensures current transportation assets are safe, efficient and modernized
Advance Equity in Transportation
In addition to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, legislators have identified racial equity as a urgent issue to address, and TCC will work to highlight the importance of racial justice work in transportation. TCC will be advocating for stronger equity measures and tools, such as funding a Transportation Equity Study; developing a state level Equity Cabinet to increase representation; and developing a process for using a Racial Equity Tool on transportation policy and investment decisions.
TCC will also be working with partners to raise awareness about reducing harm from policing in transportation. We would like to see action taken on policy such as eliminating laws that criminalize pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders and produce racially discriminatory outcomes; removing law enforcement from routine traffic stops; and creating incentives rather than relying on enforcement.
Keep the Momentum Going From 2020
As a result of last year’s Transportation for All bill, the legislature directed additional work related to performance-based evaluation of transportation projects, as well as the state’s policy goals. Since the 2020 session, WSDOT has completed an initial draft of a project evaluation model that could guide the legislature in aligning investments with policy goals. In addition, discussion about WSDOT’s transportation policy goals has advanced through the Joint Transportation Committee Needs Assessment. TCC will be closely tracking and pushing forward these items.
The Week Ahead
Transportation Secretary Roger Millar will provide his State of Transportation address to the House and Senate Transportation Committees. View the full schedule of committee hearings and agendas, and access the live stream here.
In addition, the Clean Fuel Standard bill will be heard this week in the House Environment Committee.
TCC will be organizing and advocating virtually this year, which means more opportunities for the public to get involved. Please sign up for our action alerts, read our Dispatch from Olympia blog series, and follow us on social media for the latest updates and ways you can support building a clean and just transportation system. We’ll also be tracking priority transportation bills on our bill tracker. You can bookmark this page on how to testify during this year’s virtual session.