The policy committee cutoff for the opposite chamber is coming up this Friday, March 26, which means any bills not passed out of committee by then will die. There are exceptions for any bills in a fiscal committee, like the Transportation Committee: those have until April 2. There are just six weeks left in the regular legislative session this year!
Revenue is bad — but not as bad as previously expected. The topline news from Olympia last week was a stronger-than-expected revenue forecast. Overall, the state’s revenue forecast shows recovery from pre-pandemic levels during the 2021-2023 biennium. Unfortunately, transportation revenues are still down — especially toll revenue, which is down 80% — though not as much as previous forecasts. This is partly due to the federal stimulus package providing a one-time stop gap, and partly due to the recovery of I-976 revenue following the supreme court ruling in October.
As a result, we anticipate that immediate transit, bicycle and pedestrian projects will continue on schedule and culverts will be funded for the biennium. Both chambers are working on their biennial transportation budgets, with plans to release them publicly this week. We’ll be looking out for full funding in the multimodal account, as well as to ensure that ferries are funded through gas tax revenue (a win from last session!).
The effort for expanded fare enforcement options continues. In other news, HB 1301, regarding equitable fare enforcement, had a hearing in the House Transportation committee last week. Transportation Choices and our partners at Transit Riders Union and Disability Rights Washington testified in support of the bill. We were pleased to hear committee Chair Steve Hobbs reference the bill’s 96-1 vote coming out of the House, and are optimistic this bill will keep moving forward.
Is that the mail truck? Because we’re waiting for a package. In addition to waiting for budget bills to drop we are still eagerly awaiting bills and policy details for the various transportation package proposals. We expect these to be made public potentially by the end of the month. Along with partners at the Climate Alliance, TCC will host a Clean & Just Transportation Town Hall Town Hall on March 29 at 12:00pm PT to provide Clean & Just Transportation supporters with an up-to-date policy briefing and opportunity to take collective action.
We are keeping an eye on several additional bills this week. HB 1099, which adds climate goals (including transportation) to the Growth Management Act, is scheduled for executive session on March 24. The Healthy Environments for All (HEAL) Act was rescheduled from last week for executive session on March 23. Our partners at Front & Centered are working hard to gain agreement on how to define “significant agency action” — a key piece of this bill that would bring an environmental justice policy framework to major state agencies.
Check out our Bill Tracker to stay up-to-date on the status of TCC’s priority legislation.