What happened last week:
Despite a groundswell of advocacy, House Bill 1793 did not make it off the House floor before cutoff at 5 pm on Wednesday. We are disappointed HB 1793 isn’t moving forward this year, but we feel the groundwork has been laid to win next year, and we will keep fighting for safe streets, transit, and accessibility. Thanks Rooted in Rights, Representative Joe Fitzgibbon, and other partners, advocates, and legislators who worked hard to support HB 1793 and improve safety and mobility. Together, we sent 348 letters in two days to our representatives urging them to support HB 1793, safe streets and reliable transit.
Our work isn’t over. We will continue advocating for Don’t Block the Box legislation with advocates. If you witness a blocked intersection, you can continue to advocate by tweeting your photo using the hashtag #DontBlocktheBox. Let’s continue showing our legislators that blocked intersections are a mobility and safety issue.
Local tolling prevention bill is dead. Senate Bill 5104 prohibiting local governments from imposing vehicle tolls did not make it out of Senate before cutoff. This is a win. Local jurisdictions should have the ability to decide how they want to fund transportation and have tools to address their specific local needs.
The big tolling bill (HB 1899) addressing the tolling of I-405, state route 167, and state route 509 was heard in the House Transportation Committee on Thursday. TCC and partners testified in support of HB 1899 to move up 167 and 509 schedules three years and move up 405 a year to coincide with Sound Transit’s BRT in 2024. There was a fantastic turnout including many locally elected officials that came to testify in support of the bill. Anything with bonding requires 60% vote on the House floor and Senate floor so we will be looking to develop bipartisan support to pass HB 1899.
Other bills we’re tracking that passed out of origin:
- SB 5489: The Healthy Environment for All Act helps state agencies have a stronger environmental justice lens in their decision-making processes. This bill passed out of the Senate and is scheduled for public hearing in the House Committee on State Government and Tribal Relations on March 19.
- HB 1584: The bill requires regional transportation planning organizations that receive state funds to provide opportunity for federally recognized tribes to vote as members. It passed out of the House and is scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Committee on Transportation on March 18.
- SB 5695: The bill increases fines for HOV violations and adds an additive fine for using a doll. It passed the Senate and is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Transportation Committee on March 20.
- HB 1966: The bill increases penalties for crashing into pedestrians, cyclists, and other vulnerable users.
What’s happening this week:
The green transportation bill (HB 2042) passed the House Transportation Committee and is scheduled for an executive hearing on Wednesday, March 20. HB 2042 would provide electric vehicle tax incentives for personal vehicles, business fleets, and support for electrifying transit. We still have concerns about funding coming from the multimodal account; we are working with the House chair, as well as a coalition of environmental partners, on these concerns.
The Forward Washington Senate transportation package was referred to Senate Ways and Means Committee and is currently not scheduled for a hearing. Discussion around next steps for the package has not been limited to Olympia, however. Several organizations published an environmental critique of the initial package, and the Seattle Transit Blog interviewed Senator Saldaña about the potential for creating a more multi-modal package. We are continuing to track conversations in and outside Olympia, though still anticipate passing any new package will be a multi-year effort (as our lobbyist Bryce Yadon told STB!).
SB 5710, the bill establishing the active transportation safety advisory council passed out of the House and will have a hearing this week in the House Transportation Committee. Washington Bikes has been doing an excellent job leading on this bill, and TCC will sign in to support it.
HB 1110, the Low Carbon Fuel standard bill will reward producers that create and use cleaner fuels. HB 110 will have a hearing this week and TCC will sign in to support the bill.
The House budget will drop in the coming weeks. TCC is pushing for two budget provisos asking for a low-income toll study and a health impact assessment study related to autonomous vehicles.