Policy Programs

 

Good policy goes beyond bills, laws, and technical discussions. Our work is focused on helping cities, counties, and Washington State develop holistic transportation solutions that create connected communities and a healthy planet. We believe that engaging with the people most affected is at the center of strong and sustainable policy creation

We are working to improve reliable and affordable access to transportation that connects our communities to jobs, education, health care, and each other. When our transportation system works for everyone, we all thrive. Here’s a look at our policy work:

Access + Affordability

Growing economic inequality is widening the gaps in access to mobility. Research is clear that reliable transportation is a key determinant of whether communities can thrive and realize their full potential. Great transit service is an essential transportation option and ensuring access.

 

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New Technology + Innovation

Growth has accelerated demand for mobility and affordable housing options, a challenge that must be met if we want to remain prosperous, inclusive, and competitive. Technology presents an opportunity to create a more equitable system, with improved access for all — but only if we keep equity at the heart of policy development and focus on access, affordability, and sustainability.

 

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Health + Sustainability

The car-dominant paradigm of the past fifty years has left our communities less connected, increasing emissions that are harming the planet, and resulting in adverse health outcomes, particularly for communities of color and low-income communities. Great transit service can provide more opportunities for physical activity, reduce stressful commutes, and help strengthen social networks.

 

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Plans + Projects

Recently passed ballot measures – including ST2, ST3, and Move Seattle – provide an unprecedented opportunity to expand the Puget Sound region’s high capacity transit system. We have a crucial role to play helping transit agency partners be successful. We work to ensure that these policies and voter-approved transit expansions are effectively implemented to support access and foster equitable, healthy communities connected by great transit.

 

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Legislative Agenda

The Washington State Legislature meets every year starting on the second Monday of January to create and pass laws. The Legislature has two bodies of government: the House (98 members, elected for two-year terms) and the Senate (49 members, elected for four-year terms). Find out more about Washington State’s legislative process here.

2020 Bill Tracker

Here are the bills we tracked during the 2020 legislative session, along with status and actions. To take action, click on the bill’s number to comment on the Washington Legislature website, or contact your legislator.

Status update as of March 13, 2020.

Status

TCC Position

Bill Number

Bill Title (Click to expand and collapse)

Passed

Support

Establishing additional uses for automated traffic safety cameras for traffic congestion reduction and increased safety.

This bill would allow cities in Washington State to use automated enforcement (photographs) to help keep bus lanes clear for buses, crosswalks clear for people, and ensure traffic can flow through intersections when the light turns green. We strongly support this legislation because when drivers block intersections, and weave in and out of bus lanes, it makes the streets more dangerous for everyone and increases congestion and delay. Check out Rooted in Rights’ video Don’t Block the Box, which looks at the impacts of block intersections on people who use wheelchairs.

This bill was stalled in the Senate in 2019. Over the last year we have seen how buses moving out of the Seattle transit tunnel to surface streets has had negative impacts on transit use to downtown, so ensuring we can enforce bus lanes to keep people moving is more critical than ever. We’ll be working again with Rooted in Rights, as well as business partners to pass this bill that keeps buses moving and intersections safe.

Dead

Support

Expanding transportation policy goals.

The Transportation for All bill is our top priority this legislative session. TCC is working with the Climate Alliance for Jobs and Clean energy to pass the Transportation for All bill and move Washington State closer to performance-based planning. Though WSDOT has some transportation goals already in code, the Climate Alliance is advocating to update these goals to include climate, health and resilience, equity and environmental justice. In addition, we’ll be pushing to add performance metrics and accountability measures to how we select which transportation projects receive funding in the future. We believe performance-based planning is the only way we can ensure our transportation investments are helping us build a healthier, more sustainable and more connected Washington State. 

Check out our Transportation for All one pagers here and here.

Dead

Support

Concerning parking cash out programs.

Introduced by Rep. Ramel, this bill would mandate that every employer that employs fifty or more employees in the state and that provides a parking subsidy to employees, must offer a parking cash out program to those employees. “Parking cash out program” means an employer-funded program under which an employer offers to provide a cash allowance to an employee equivalent to the parking subsidy that the employer would otherwise provide to the employee. We think this is an innovative bill that can help incentivize mode shift!

Dead

Support

HB 6652

 

 

Addressing local transportation revenue options.
Addressing local transportation revenue options.

Passed

Concerns

Making supplemental transportation appropriations for the 2019-2021 fiscal biennium.

In the wake of I-976 passing, an initiative that limits all car tab fees across Washington State to $30, as well as reduces a host of other vehicle licensing and weight fees, Governor Inslee has directed the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to delay transportation projects that 1) are not needed for safety improvements and 2) do not jeopardize federal funding. Under this guidance, he has bought legislative and transportation leaders time to plan for potential cuts while challenges to I-976 play out in court.

TCC is advocating to ensure that projects and programs that are eligible for funds from the State’s Motor Vehicle Account, such as Ferries and the State Patrol, are supported by those dollars. By doing so, we can focus on preserving funds from the Multimodal Account (the hardest hit by I-976) for transit, bicycle and pedestrian improvements, which already receive a disproportionately small allocation of state dollars compared to other transportation modes.

Dead

Concerns

Concerning regional transit authorities.

This bill would change the vehicle valuation methodology that Sound Transit uses to calculate current Motor Vehicle Excise Taxes. The MVET being collected today uses a depreciation schedule that has been in place since the 1990s. A newer depreciation schedule – with lower vehicle values and therefore generates lower taxes, especially for owners of newer cars – was adopted by the Legislature in 2006. This schedule is intended to go into effect after the 1999 bonds are retired in 2028, but this bill would accelerate that transition. The lower valuation and subsequent revenue generation means that this bill would create a funding gap for Sound Transit in the range of $2.9 billion (including the loss of bonding capacity). TCC would only support this bill with an amendment to keep projects fully funded and on track. 

Dead

Concerns

Implementing a per mile charge on electric and hybrid vehicles.

Introduced by Sen. Saldana, this bill would implement a per mile charge on electric and hybrid vehicles to ensure that the greater adoption of efficient vehicles does not reduce funds to maintain and improve transportation infrastructure and to allow further evaluation of the feasibility of transitioning from a revenue collection system based on fuel taxes to a per mile funding system. 

We believe that a road usage charge could be an innovative way to generate transportation revenue provided that revenue generated can fund multimodal projects and programs; includes a progressive rate structure that is set to cover infrastructure costs as well as social and environmental externalities; and addresses the climate crisis by incentivizing less driving and cleaner vehicles. Concerns regarding privacy and the potential for disproportionate impacts must also be addressed.

Dead

Concerns

Addressing local transportation revenue options.

This bill would allow cities or towns to impose a utility tax of up to 2% to be used exclusively for transportation improvements, including: investments in new or existing highways of statewide significance, principle arterial of regional significance, high capacity transportation and public transportation.

Dead

Oppose

HB 2227 / SB 6031

Limiting state and local taxes, fees, and other charges relating to vehicles.

This measure would limit annual motor vehicle license fees to $30, except voter-approved charges, repeal and remove authority to impose certain vehicle taxes and charges; and base vehicle taxes on Kelley Blue Book rather than the current vehicle valuation methodology. 

Dead

Oppose

Nullifying certain taxes approved by regional transit authority voters.

This bill removes Pierce County from the Sound Transit Regional Taxing Authority. 

Dead

Oppose

Limiting state and local taxes, fees, and other charges relating to vehicles.

This bill, introduced by Senator O’Ban, would essentially codify Initiative 976.

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