The first legislative session cut-off was last week for most bills to get out of committee (except for Transportation, Appropriation, and Ways & Means, which have cut-offs this Friday). That means bills need to pass out of said committees to still be considered “alive”. All of our bills are of the transportation/fiscal kind, so we’re approaching our first hurdle.

What happened this week

SB 5383 – Concerning pedestrians crossing and moving along roadways.

Our Free To Walk bill is up for Executive Session today at 1:30pm! You can watch how votes land here.

HB 1832 –  [A Road Usage Charge] Implementing a per mile charge on vehicle usage of public roadways.

This bill was introduced by House Transportation Chair Jake Fey last week. A Road Usage Charge, or RUC, is an innovative way to generate transportation revenue that charges people by the number of miles they drive rather than gallons of gas used. It’s an excellent opportunity to shape transportation funding policy to be more aligned with our state’s goals and values. Read more about what a RUC is, why it’s important, and how it aligns with our policy priorities here

It was originally scheduled for a hearing but that was suspended and will continue today at noon. Watch here.

We took the Other stance on this bill. It’s a big step forward but we have some key policy recommendations.

What we appreciate about HB 1832:

  • We think it is a great sign that the legislature is taking this seriously, and the Chair of a Transportation committee proposing a bill is a big step forward.
  • We also appreciate that the funds would not be restricted to only highway purposes, a big shift from the current status quo.

HB 1832’s opportunities for improvement

  • The bill restricts funding to only maintenance and preservation, but we think it should explicitly allow for not only multimodal maintenance and preservation, but critical transit and active transportation capacity projects necessary for meeting climate, growth, and other state targets. 
  • Previous iterations of a RUC bill (last year’s HB 2026) had a directive to explore a low-income RUC program. We would like to see the same direction in this bill. 
We are concerned about language in the bill that caps how much a driver would pay, which will significantly impact revenue and undermine the intent of the RUC.

HB 1513 – Improving traffic safety.

We support this ACLU-led bill to end nonmoving traffic violations and create a grant program to support low-income drivers address equipment failures. The bill was heard in the House Transportation Committee on February 21st, and is scheduled for Executive Session today in House Transportation at 12pm. You can watch here.

SB 5466 – Promoting Transit-Oriented Development.

TCC supports this bill that would authorize existing impact fees to be able to fund multimodal infrastructure improvements. It is up for Executive Session today at 1:30pm. You can watch here.

Plus the work session on workforce development that the Senate Transportation Committee began last week continued here.

What happened last week

Over 380 people signed in pro for the jaywalking changes bill, SB 5383 (thank you)! And the spoken testimony was excellent.

The next step is to ask the Senate Transportation Committee to vote it out of their committees today.

SB 5452, funding bicycle and pedestrian facilities through an impact fee, was voted out of its own Committee and now sits with Rules.

To learn more about the campaign to repeal jaywalking laws in Washington State, visit Free to Walk Washington. Ride on!

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