Cutoff for bills to pass the opposite chamber is Sunday, April 11, meaning there are just two weeks left in the regular legislative session! With major pieces of climate legislation progressing through the process, there is a viable path forward for a transportation package to cross the finish line.
Wins for equity thus far
With strong bipartisan support, HB 1301, which allows Sound Transit to divorce fare enforcement from the court system, has passed both chambers and is headed for the governor’s desk! We are grateful to Representative Joe Fitzgibbon for sponsoring the bill, and for the dozens of organizations and Sound Transit board members who have advocated for years to continue moving this work forward. With this bill signed into law, Sound Transit will be able to lower its fine from $124 and create alternative pathways for citation resolution that don’t involve a trip to the courthouse.
The HEAL Act, which would help embed environmental justice frameworks and practices within state agencies, is on a path to passage. This week it was pulled from the Rules committee and is heading to the House floor. We are eagerly awaiting the floor vote, and hope to see this heading off for signature soon. It would be a major victory for institutional change at the state around equity, including at the department of transportation.
Components of the “grand bargain” are moving forward
Earlier this month, the House and Senate released their updated transportation package proposals, and we outlined how both the Climate Commitment Act and Clean Fuel Standard are related pieces of legislation coming together as part of a “grand bargain.” On Thursday, April 8, both pieces of climate legislation took significant steps forward in the process, providing new momentum for a path forward for a transportation package.
The Climate Commitment Act, a cap and trade carbon pricing policy, passed the Senate and will move onto the House Energy and Environment Committee (a hearing is already scheduled for Wednesday, April 14). A lot of work remains to be done, and we expect several amendments to come in. TCC will be advocating to ensure that any transportation revenues generated from carbon pricing be dedicated to carbon reduction strategies only, such as multimodal transportation and electrification. We anticipate it will take nearly the rest of session for this bill to move through the process, and will be tracking it closely.
Late into the evening on April 8 the Clean Fuels bill also passed out of the Senate. As this bill had already passed the House it now moves into conference, meaning a small committee of legislators from both chambers will negotiate final pieces of the policy and try to come to agreement.
As the climate bills move forward, Transportation leaders will continue to gather feedback and negotiate on Miles Ahead and Forward Washington. The Senate will hold another public hearing on its proposal Monday, April 12, and TCC and partners will be testifying in support of increasing the multimodal investments to match the House proposal. We need to keep the pressure up so please send a quick email to your legislators today:
Please see our Bill Tracker for the status of other priority bills.