Sine Die is Sunday, but there’s a long way to go to passing a Clean and Just transportation package during the regular session.
Forward Washington moving, but time is short
On April 14 the Senate Transportation Committee passed its transportation proposal, Forward Washington, out of committee without any major amendments. We were pleased to see many Democratic committee members bring forth amendments that would have increased investments in transit as well as infrastructure for walking, rolling, and biking: Senator Claire Wilson proposed a fixed route transit grant program, and Senator T’wina Nobles proposed additional support for Safe Routes to Schools. Other senators offered several other important equity and safety elements.
Unfortunately these amendments were almost all voted down.
With less than a week remaining in the legislative session, time is now short to improve the package. The bills must pass the Senate, the House Transportation Committee, the House Floor and then be conferenced prior or 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, April 25. In addition, because some of the revenue would be bonded, the package would require a 60% majority vote for the bond bill; it remains unclear if there is enough support from Republican Senators at this time.
Washington can’t wait for better transportation investments. We don’t have time to spare when it comes to climate change, and post-pandemic recovery will be a once-a-century chance to improve the infrastructure that shapes our economy. Every Senator who recognizes the threat of climate change and inequality needs to take action this week to pass a better bill that prioritizes #CleanAndJust transportation.
Climate legislation also under pressure
Because language in the Climate Commitment Act (cap & trade) and Clean Fuels legislation specifically ties the bills to a transportation package, it is possible that the clock could run out on all three pieces of the “grand bargain.” We are working to determine if the climate pieces could pass, with language that would refer to a future transportation package.
The final week of the regular session is sure to be quick moving. Follow us on Twitter for the most updated information.
1301 is now law!
On a celebratory note, Governor Inslee signed HB 1301 into law Friday, April 16! We are thrilled to see this significant change in State code, which will clear the way for Sound Transit to update its fare enforcement policy and fully divorce from the court system.
Please see our Bill Tracker for the status of other priority bills.