It’s an exciting week for Free to Walk, our campaign to reform Washington’s jaywalking laws!
Tomorrow, January 23, at 3 PM, Transportation Choices will be holding a press conference on the North Steps of the Legislative Building in Olympia. Our research partner Ethan C. Campbell will present findings from his new report showing how jaywalking enforcement disproportionately impacts Black and unhoused people across the state, and how it’s often used as a pretext to stop people. And State Senator Rebecca Saldaña will discuss an updated bill to reform jaywalking laws, SB 5383. Join us in person or watch a live stream at facebook.com/TranspoChoices.
Right after the press conference at 4 PM, the Senate Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on SB 5383, which limits police enforcement of jaywalking laws to situations when pedestrians suddenly move into the path of a vehicle. You can help us move this bill forward – please sign in PRO and email the committee members asking them to reform Washington’s jaywalking laws!
Now for some bad news: we were disappointed to learn last week that Initiative 2117 to repeal the Climate Commitment Act was certified, which means it will likely be put to voters in November. The CCA not only acts as a curb on climate pollution; it raises critical funds to invest in a climate resilient future. It’s a key revenue source for Move Ahead Washington, the historic transportation package that we passed in 2022, including programs like Youth Ride Free and the Transit Support Grants helping to fill funding gaps for transit agencies across the state. Defending the CCA is a top priority for TCC, and we are working closely with our partners to devise a strategy to protect this critical funding.
Read on for more actions you can take this week, and check out our Bill Tracker to see the status of bills we’re keeping an eye on this Session.
WHAT’S COMING UP THIS WEEK
Help us end harmful jaywalking enforcement!
Jaywalking enforcement doesn’t protect people from getting hit by cars, disproportionately impacts Black and unhoused individuals, and is an inefficient use of public resources.
Our updated Free to Walk bill reduces police discretion as to when they can enforce jaywalking laws. Instead of selectively using jaywalking as a pretextual stop, officers would only be able to stop pedestrians for jaywalking if they suddenly move into the path of a vehicle.
The Senate Transportation Committee will be hearing Senator Saldaña’s amended SB 5383 on Tuesday, January 23, at 4 PM, and we need your help to move it forward!
Here are two quick and easy actions to take before 3 PM tomorrow:
Help rural transit agencies access grant funding
The green transportation capital grant program is designed to help transit agencies reduce their carbon emissions, but rural agencies have had a hard time coming up with the matching funds required by the grant.
SB 6229 would modify matching fund requirements so that more agencies can take advantage of these important grants.
This bill will be heard in the Senate Transportation Committee tomorrow, January 23, at 4 PM.
Help expedite the completion of pedestrian and bike trails
If you walk, bike, or roll, you know how frustrating it can be to encounter a gap in a safe and protected trail. Legislators are trying to make it easier to fill in those gaps, by streamlining regulatory decisions about the development or extension of certain trails or paths.
HB 2394 would exempt certain limited trails from State Environmental Policy Act appeals.
This bill will be heard in the House Committee on Local Government tomorrow, January 23, at 10:30 AM.
WHAT HAPPENED LAST WEEK
Some of the bills we’re tracking were heard in Legislative Committees last week. Thank you to everyone who signed in PRO! We’ll keep you posted about further opportunities to take action.
Transit-oriented housing development
We need affordable housing to be built near transit, to ensure that people of all income levels can access safe, equitable, and low-carbon transportation.
HB 2160, a bill promoting community and transit-oriented housing development, was heard in an executive session of the House Housing Committee.
Gas price transparency
Gas prices in Washington are among the highest in the nation – and it’s difficult to tell how much of that is oil companies passing the buck for polluting to consumers while raking in record profits.
SB 6052, a bill to ensure better oversight of petroleum markets, was heard in the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee.
Expanding what a border fuel tax can fund
Funding multimodal transportation in Washington is notoriously difficult, in part because the State’s gas tax revenues are constitutionally limited to funding roadways. But other fuel taxes could be used more broadly – and that’s what SB 6017 aims to do for one particular border area in Washington with unique geographic challenges.
SB 6017, a bill to expand the use of a voter-approved border fuel tax to be able to fund high capacity transportation and public transportation, was heard in the Senate Transportation Committee.