The 2018 Legislative Session started on Monday – and a 60-day session thus begins. With one party controlling both the House and Senate, a few items on the Democratic wish list are gathering momentum. For example, the Washington Voting Rights Act and the Washington Equal Pay act are both likely to move forward. In the transportation world, we have been expecting that HB 2201, which was introduced last year and would ultimately result in a $2.3 billion loss to Sound Transit, would quickly be voted on and passed by the House to send to the Senate. It did not happen.
At this point we do not expect HB 2201 to move forward. We do expect that a new bill will be introduced that addressed tax payer concerns and identifies tools, either in direct funding or in cost savings, to fill any funding gap created. Voters across the region approved Sound Transit 3 with 54% support. Projects in Sound Transit 3 will bring important connections to job centers and provide options for residents stuck in traffic. We will continue to work with legislators to address these issues without delaying or canceling these transit projects.
In other ST3 news, the House Transportation Committee heard Rep. Kristine Reeves’ HB 2357 this week, which would allow for semiannual or quarterly payment plans for MVET taxes. We testified in support.