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.

2019 Bill Tracker

Here are the bills we are closely tracking, 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 14, 2019

Status

TCC Position

Bill Number

Bill Title (Click to expand and collapse)

Dead

Support

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

This bill would allot 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.

Update 3/11: The House Transportation Committee voted HB 1793 out of committee. The bill is now in the House Rules Committee. Fill out our Action Alert to tell your legislators to support safe streets and bring HB 1793 to a vote by March 13.

Update 3/13: Bill did not pass off the House floor before cutoff.

Senate Environment Committee

Support

Addressing the tolling of Interstate 405, state route number 167, and state route number 509.

A massive bill related to tolling authority, construction and bonding for I-405, SR, 167, and SR 509. This legislation is critical to implementing the I-405 bus rapid transit project, to pay for needed improvements, as well as for further managing the congested highway system. We are working hard to support this bill, as well as to better understand how to reduce the burden of tolls on low-income drivers by requesting funds for a low-income tolling study. Check out the details we are working to include with our low-income tolling study one pager here.

Update 3/13: Scheduled for public hearing in the House Committee on Transportation at 3:30 PM on March 14

Senate Transportation Committee

Support

Restricting the availability of state funds to regional transportation planning organizations that do not provide a reasonable opportunity for voting membership to certain federally recognized tribes.

This bill requires regional transportation planning organizations that receive state funds provide opportunity for federally recognized tribes to vote as members.

Update 3/13: Scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Committee on Transportation at 3:30 PM on March 18

Senate Transportation Committee

Support

Concerning high occupancy vehicle lane penalties.

Increases fines for HOV violations, allows for an additive fine for using a doll/dummy.

Update 3/13: Passed the Senate. Scheduled for public hearing in the House Committee on Transportation at 3:30 PM on March 20.

Senate Transportation Committee

Support

Concerning abstracts of driving records.

Allows for the permission to release driver abstracts to transit authorities is expanded to include existing volunteer vanpool drivers.

Update 3/13: Passed the House. Scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Committee on Transportation on March 20.

House Transportation Committee

Support

Increasing safety on roadways for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other roadway users.

Bill increases penalties for crashing into pedestrians, cyclists, and other vulnerable users.

Update 3/13: Passed the Senate.

Senate Transportation Committee

Support

Establishing the active transportation safety advisory council.

Supports continued work by the bicycle and pedestrian safety councils.

Update 3/13: Passed the House. Scheduled for public hearing in the House Committee on Transportation at 3:30 PM on March 14

Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technology

Support

Low Carbon Fuel Standard bill.

This bill would reward producers that create and use cleaner fuels. This bill is a priority for our climate partners, as the transportation sector is a major emitter of greenhouse gases. California, Oregon and British Columbia have all implemented have some form of fuel standard policy.

The Department of Ecology would implement a program to limit greenhouse gas emissions per unit of transportation fuel energy to 10% below 2017 levels by 2028 and 20% below 2017 levels by 2035.

Update 3/4: The House Appropriations passed the bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels. It is now waiting to be called to the House floor for a vote.

Update 3/13: Passed the House. Scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technology at 10:00 AM on March 19.

Dead

Support

Providing discounted toll rates to certain individuals on certain tolled facilities.

This bill provides discounted toll rates on certain facilities for low-income individuals. We are glad that the legislature is taking the important step to ensure that the benefits of tolled facilities are open to all and to recognize the disproportionate financial impact tolls can have on lower-income individuals and families. We want to ensure that a discount program applies to low-income drivers across the state, regardless of which facility they use, and that the program is carefully created to ensure agency coordination, smooth customer experience, and address any additional barriers that underrepresented groups may face in using the toll system.

Update 3/1: We worked with the legislators to turn the bill into a low-income toll study to understand the financial and other equity impacts of tolling, and barriers to the benefits of tolling on frontline communities. Referred to House Rules Committee.

Update 3/13: Bill did not make it off the House floor before cutoff.

House State Government and Tribal Relations Committee

Support

Establishing a healthy environment for all by creating a definition of environmental justice, directing agencies to address environmental health disparities, and creating a task force.

The Healthy Environment for All bill will define environmental justice and require state agencies to use environmental health disparity data to make decisions about investments and policy development. It also creates a deadline for a 100 percent clean energy commitment in the state and prioritizes clean energy investments in communities highly impacted by environmental burdens. This builds on our goals to build healthy and just communities and we appreciate the leadership of Front and Centered on this bill.

Update 3/11: The HEAL Act passed out of the Senate on March 8.

Update 3/13: Scheduled for public hearing in the House Committee on State Government & Tribal Relations at 1:30 PM on March 19.

House State Government and Tribal Relations Committee

Support

Pays postage on all elections for mail in ballots.

This bill will eliminate barriers to voting. Since the state doesn’t fund a lot of transit, local jurisdictions rely on ballot measures for transit funding. This will make it easier for people to participate in the democratic process.

Update 3/11: Passed out of the Senate on March 5.

Update 3/14: Scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on State Government & Tribal Relations at 8:00 AM on March 22.

Dead

Support

Concerning parking enforcement.

This bill would allow transit agencies to manage the parking at park-and-ride lots owned by WSDOT. Currently, if WSDOT owns the lot, there is no mechanism for local jurisdictions to enforce the parking, even if someone has been parked for days on end. We support this legislation as it will allow agencies to better manage parking and provide broader access to transit. In addition, the revenues can be put back into improving all types of access to park-and-rides. TCC has advocated for better managed parking here in King County, and this would allow areas such as Kitsap — where the park-and-rides are at highest capacity in the state — to manage its lots as well.

Update 3/13: Bill did not make it off the Senate floor.

Senate Ways and Means Committee

Concerns

Advancing electrification of transportation.

We are in conversation with legislators about electrification of the transportation sector, including discussion of a new electric vehicle (EV) incentive. TCC aims to ensure any new incentive proposals, such as SB 5336, provide a break to lower income EV buyers, and that funding does not hurt other strategies for reducing transportation emissions, such as mass transit, walking and biking projects.

Update 2/28: Referred to House Rules Committee.

Update 3/13: Scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means at 3:30 PM on March 19.

Senate Ways and Means Committee

Monitoring and advocating for multi-modal investments

Concerning transportation funding.

Our policy goals for this new transportation package is to increase investments in the State’s multimodal account to fund more transit, walking, and biking projects, and grant programs like Safe Routes to School and special needs transit.

We appreciate the support for transportation demand management programming and want to see further support for foundational commute trip reduction (CTR) programs, expanded programming, and broadening CTR to include non-commute trips. We believe CTR programs can be expanded to include small businesses, minority-owned businesses, and employees with non-traditional hours. We also appreciated the proposal’s continued base support for multimodal transportation, though investments need to grow beyond previous years in order to achieve our goals around health, opportunity, and equity. This transportation package should center transportation equity and low-income communities and communities of color, as well as addressing emissions in the transportation sector.

Discussions around a new package will likely outlast this session. TCC’s overall priority is to grow investments in the multimodal account.

Update 3/4: We are thrilled to see new flexible revenue options in the package and will continue advocating with our partners to increase the level of investment into transit, walking, and biking. We are against some of the proposals such as a bike tax. There are steps towards good climate policy in the package, although the current proposed carbon fee must have a better structure to be effective.

House Transportation Committee

Concerns

Advancing green transportation adoption

The legislation focuses heavily on supporting vehicle electrification, for personal vehicles, business fleets as well as transit. TCC is generally supportive of these efforts, and we have been working with partners including Climate Solutions to offer amendments to make EV incentives available to low- and middle-income buyers over wealthy buyers. However we remain fully opposed to using funding from the multimodal account to help fund sales and use tax refunds for the purchase of private electric vehicles.

Update 3/11: Scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Transportation at 3:30 on Wednesday, March 14.

Update 3/13: Scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Transportation at 3:30 PM on March 20.

House Transportation Committee

Monitoring and advocating for multi-modal investments

Making transportation appropriations for the 2019-2021 fiscal biennium. TCC Position: Monitoring and advocating for multi-modal investments.

The legislature is beginning to consider the Governor’s proposed budget. The House Transportation Committee held a hearing on the transportation appropriations budget. TCC supports increasing investments in transit, biking, walking, as well as in the State’s Commute Trip Reduction program, as well as funding a Health Impact Assessment related to the State’s autonomous vehicle work, as well as a low-income tolling study.

Dead

Oppose

Prevents a Road Usage Charge from being imposed in rural areas of the state.

A road usage charge is a mileage-based fee for the use of our state’s roadways. Recognizing that gas tax revenues are projected to decline, Washington is testing the feasibility of road usage charges as a new model for funding transportation, and it’s important that we continue to keep this option open. Contrary to popular belief, a mileage-based charging mechanism should not disproportionately impact those driving long distances in rural areas compared to the gas tax —  you pay more the more you drive either way, but a gas tax favors those who can afford more expensive fuel-efficient vehicles.

Update 3/13: Did not make it off the Senate floor.

Dead

Oppose

Prohibiting local governments from imposing vehicle tolls.

We believe that local jurisdictions should have the ability and flexibility to decide how they want to fund transportation and have tools to address their specific needs. Vehicle tolling is just one option for managing roadways and paying for projects that increase mobility and accessibility.

Update 3/13: Bill did not make it off the House floor before cutoff.

Dead

Oppose

Replacing the Interstate 405 express toll lanes with a general purpose lane and a high occupancy vehicle lane.

To maximize efficiency of our roads and infrastructure, it is important to manage how they are used. Pricing our roads can help control the flow of traffic so that travel is faster and more reliable. I-405 Express Toll Lanes generated more revenue than expected and improved travel times for everyone. A recent survey also found that 86% of people like having an ETL option on I-405.

Update 3/13: Bill did not pass off of Senate floor.

Regional Transit Authority Bill Defense

There are numerous bills impacting the ability for Sound Transit to deliver on projects.

  • We do not support efforts to change a voter-approved plan. ST3 won 54% of the vote in 2016.
  • However, we are sensitive to issues of tax payer fairness as it relates to low and middle income families in the region and are working with legislators to explore equitable options.
  • TCC is committed to ensuring that Sound Transit receives funding that allows the voter-approved ST3 to move forward.

Dead

Oppose

Concerning the collection of a motor vehicle excise (MVET) tax approved by voters of a regional transit authority in 2016.

House Bill 2123 would dismantle voter-approved projects under Sound Transit 3, cutting billions of dollars from light rail, commuter rail, and bus rapid transit projects throughout Pierce, Snohomish, and King counties.

Update 3/13: Bill did not make it off the House floor before cutoff.

Dead

Oppose

Requiring a regional transit authority to receive additional approval from voters if the cost to complete a regional transit system plan approved by voters in 2016 increases beyond fifty-four billion dollars. Update 3/13: Bill did not make it off the Senate floor.

Dead

Oppose

Establishing a vehicle valuation method for a regional transit authority collecting a motor vehicle excise tax that is based on Kelley blue book or national automobile dealers association values. Update 3/13: Bill did not make it off the Senate floor.

Dead

Oppose

Nullifying the imposition of certain taxes within regional transit authority boundaries. Update 3/13: Bill did not make it off the Senate floor.

Dead

Oppose

Modifying the election and authority of regional transit authority board members. Update 3/13: Bill did not make it off the Senate floor.

Dead

Concerns

MVET low-income adjustments. Creating a motor vehicle excise tax low-income market value adjustment program. Update 3/13: Bill did not make it off the Senate floor.

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