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.

2021 Bill Tracker

Here are the bills we tracked during the 2021 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 4/5/21

Status

TCC Position

Bill Number

Bill Title (Click to expand and collapse)

House Transportation Committee

Support

HB 1564

House Transportation package proposal

The House proposal for a new Transportation investment package.

In Conference

Support

Transportation budget 2021-2023.

Makes transportation appropriations for the 2021-2023 fiscal biennium.

Senate Rules Committee

Support

Providing expanded options for fare enforcement by regional transit authorities.

This bill would allow transit agencies to establish their own methods of fare engagement and enforcement, rather than being forced to issue civil infractions for evasion. This would allow Sound Transit to create a new fare enforcement program that is completely divorced from the courts.

House Rules Committee

Support

Implementing the recommendations of the environmental justice task force.

This bill would require all agencies to address environmental health disparities through implementing recommended policies, increasing engagement, and using the Washington health disparities map to identify overburdened communities. 

Rules Committee

Concerns

Concerning the suspension of licenses for traffic infractions.

This bill would stop the suspension of driver’s licenses for unpaid fines and fees for civil moving violations. It also ensures that drivers keep their insurance, can get to work, and provide transportation for their families. Reforming these laws will increase fairness and cost-effectiveness without sacrificing public safety.

Senate Rules Committee

Support

Implementing a per mile charge on electric and hybrid vehicles.

This bill 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.

The bill never moved out of the Senate Transportation Committee. It is possible that it will get assumed in any new revenue package.

House Transportation Committee

Oppose

Limiting bonding toll revenues on certain state highway facilities.

This bill would repeal toll bond authorizations for the Interstate 405/State Route 167, Express Toll Lanes and the Puget Sound Gateway facility. 

Dead

Support

Improving the state's climate response through updates to the state's comprehensive planning framework.

This bill would add climate change mitigation to the listed goals of the Growth Management Act (GMA) and add resiliency and climate as required “elements” of comprehensive plan documents. It would also amend transportation goals to help achieve statewide targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and per capita vehicle miles traveled. 

Dead

Oppose

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

This bill would limit motor vehicle license fees to $30, essentially legislating Initiative 976.

Dead

Support

Concerning payment plans for certain vehicle fees and taxes.

This bill would allow drivers to set up a payment plan to pay off certain vehicle fees and taxes, such as car tab fees. Drivers would be able to split their car tab bill that are $150 or more into four quarterly payments for bills.

Dead

Support

Establishing an equity impact statement for legislative proposals.

This bill would require the Office of Financial Management (OFM) to provide an Equity Impact Statement (EIS) on certain legislative proposals in coordination with the appropriate agencies. The EIS must, at minimum, would describe the expected impact of the legislative proposals on communities, or groups of individuals who share the same race, creed, national origin, citizenship or immigration status, sex, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, certain disability status, language access status, or socioeconomic status.

Dead

Support

Concerning grade-separated transportation.

This bill would update Seattle’s current City Transportation Authority for monorail transportation to grade-separated transportation. It would authorize a City Transportation Authority to plan, acquire property, construct facilities, and, with voter-approval, levy taxes for grade separated transportation, and to operate grade-separated transportation facilities.

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