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Highlights from last week

Thanks to everyone who participated in Environmental Lobby Day last week! Let’s keep the drumbeat up for our Clean and Just transportation work.

Here are two quick actions you can take today to support a Clean and Just transportation package:

Transportation package. As bills are drafted, and discussions continue, the Clean and Just transportation coalition has analyzed both the House and Senate transportation proposals to see how they stack up against our climate, health, and equity principles. Read our analysis for the Senate and House packages. 

We are now working to show support for the highest level of investment in key areas, as well as support for why investment is needed. It is urgent that we continue to lay out the vision and need right now: You can help us spread the word on WHY Washington needs a Clean and Just transportation system now!

We’ve also been monitoring public discussion in the media. Check out Disability Mobility Initiative Director Anna Zivart’s op-ed in the Seattle Times on why we must build a transportation system that prioritizes transit and walking, rolling, and biking connections so that everyone can get where they need to go. As well as TCC’s op-ed in the Seattle Times with the Washington State Labor Council and Washington Roundtable titled The road to recovery: A healthy, equitable economy starts with investments in transportation.

HB1304 had a hearing. Last Tuesday, HB1304, which would expand the current monorail taxing authority, was heard before the House Committee on Local Government. Seattle Subway has championed this bill as a way to continue planning for regional light rail, though much of the discussion last week also included the potential of using funds as backfill for Sound Transit’s capital gap. TCC wants to see strong stakeholder alignment for how to use these funds, should the authority be granted.

Coming up

This Thursday at 1:30 p.m., the House Transportation Committee will hold a work session on its transportation package proposal. TCC and partners look forward to participating as part of the work session panel, providing the case for high levels of investment in our four priority areas.   

In addition, there are several bills of interest up for hearing this week that we’ll be supporting: 

SB 5444 – Would implement a two-cent-per-mile charge on electric and hybrid vehicles — the first iteration of a statewide Road Usage Charge (RUC). It would require the development of an implementation plan by Dec. 1, 2022. It would remove the electric vehicle fee for early adopters. TCC will be urging the legislature to consider new RUC revenue as flexible (many want this restricted by the 18th amendment), and to keep the multimodal account funded (current EV fees help fund infrastructure electrification within the multimodal account). We will also be advocating for other principles we have previously discussed, such as setting progressive rates and incorporating an equity framework. 

HB 1503 – Would establish a retail sales and use tax exemption for hybrid vehicles. The exemption would be applicable only for vehicles costing less than $25,000, an intention to target help to lower-income individuals. 

HB 1330 – Would provide a retail sales and use tax exemption for the purchase of electric bicycles and related cycling equipment. The exemption would expire in May of 2027, or when $500,000 in total exemptions have been granted.

HB 1514 – Would update transportation demand management policies by removing “peak hours” from commute trips. We support this expansion as commuting patterns have changed, and the State looks to provide transit options for all types of trips. In addition it would reduce the number of occupants for vanpool from five to three.  

SB 5141 – The Healthy Environments for All (HEAL) Act, championed by our partners at Front & Centered, would embed environmental justice policy and action at state agencies, including the Department of Transportation. To receive updates and assist with action, sign up here.

As always we are keeping our Bill Tracker up to date with the latest. 

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