Cars blocking intersection in Seattle, by Alex Hudson.

There are two weeks remaining in the legislative session, with a potential special session happening afterwards. We are working to pass HB 1793 and adopting 2019-2021 biennium budgets before the April 28 session cutoff. This KNKX article highlights the work that still needs to happen this session.

What happened last week:

Transportation budget negotiations continue. As the House and Senate continue to negotiate the budget, we are working to keep our priorities in the 2019-2021 biennium budget. Our priorities are to increase investments in the multimodal account to fund more transit, walking, and biking projects; and support efforts to create a more equitable transportation system such as inclusion of a low-income toll study. As mentioned last week, the House’s budget version includes HB 1228, a bill that would fund the removal of fish culverts and move up vehicle weight fees to start earlier than the previously scheduled 2022. You can read more about HB 1228 here. The House transportation budget also includes adding ferries to the state’s fleet.

Tolling legislations. We are continuing to work to pass a tolling bill this legislative session. For work on the SR 167 and SR 509 to begin, and for the continued work on I-405, the legislature needs to pass tolling authorization. We continue to work to pass tolling authorization that would allow for bonding of the toll revenue. This would move forward key 405 improvements that will coincide and support Sound Transit Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) expansion along the corridor. Toll authorization is necessary to implement the budget and we are working towards incorporating it in the final biennial transportation budget.

What’s happening this week:

Block the box passed the House floor! Yesterday, Tuesday April 15, the House of Representatives passed HB 1793, the traffic safety camera legislation. The bill is now headed to the Senate! We are thankful for Representative Fitzgibbon and Representative Fey’s leadership, and to all the representatives who voted for improved safety and mobility last night. We have worked tirelessly with Rooted in Rights and other partners and allies to keep this bill moving forward. Now we are one step closer to creating safe and accessible streets and improved mobility for all people in downtown Seattle. Cars blocking intersections and bus lanes don’t only block traffic and delay transit, they endanger the lives of pedestrians. When crosswalks are blocked, people walking or using mobility devices are forced to navigate around cars and into moving traffic lanes.

TCC and Rooted in Rights have worked with the ACLU of Washington to draft a policy that achieves the goals of this legislation while protecting vulnerable communities. The new legislation is a two-year pilot for downtown Seattle and includes a grace period where folks get cited with a warning. There’s still more work to do — we need to pass HB 1793 out of the Senate. We will have an updated action alert soon.

The next cutoff date is tomorrow, April 17, which is the last day to consider and pass opposite house bills on the floor. This cutoff does not affect HB 1793 since there is an exception for NTIB bills — bills necessary to implement the budget.

For a snapshot at all the legislation we’re tracking, check out our 2019 Bill Tracker.

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