Fighting Climate Change and Its Effects
Transportation

Achieve balanced and efficient systems, prioritizing those that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and congestion.


Issue Chair: Cynthia Stewart, cstewart@lwvwa.org
 DOWNLOAD the Transportation Issue Paper
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Right Now in Transportation

As the Legislature enters its last week of session, the transportation budget is among the issues to be resolved. The House and Senate have passed different proposals and will be negotiating what to include and what to forgo.

The primary vehicle for the 2021-23 biennium is SB 5165. This bill also includes supplemental appropriations for the 2019-21 biennium. The Senate passed this bill on March 29, 49-0. The House passed it with amendments on April 2, 87-11. On April 14, the Senate declined to concur with House amendments and a conference committee was appointed.

Also on April 14, the Senate Transportation Committee passed three new bills, SB 5482, 5483 and 5481, which are now in the Senate Rules Committee. These include revenue, appropriations and bonding authority for a 16-year transportation plan summarized on this balance sheet. This plan also relies on the cap and invest program of 2SSB 5126 (see the Climate Change page for more information on this bill). SB 5483 authorizes $5.5 billion in general obligation bonds backed by the fuel tax.

This plan compares to the House proposed 16-year spending plan laid out on this balance sheet

The two plans are of similar orders of magnitude, though they differ somewhat in total costs; but they differ more in how they classify various costs and hence are challenging to compare. Generally, however, the House plan invests more in carbon reduction initiatives than the Senate plan. The process has not allowed thoughtful testimony and advocacy. Other bills of interest are those that follow.

Note that the transportation issues have a different, extended, set of deadlines and are not subject to the same cut-off schedule of other policy bills.

Bills the League Supports

SB 5444 Implementing a per mile charge on electric and hybrid vehicles. This bill would establish a voluntary early adoption/pilot project to evaluate road usage charges for EVs and hybrids by December 2022.


 Status This bill passed the Senate Transportation Committee on March 16 and is now in the Senate Rules Committee. Since this bill has not yet been considered by the House, it is unlikely to pass.


SB 5308 Reducing certain transportation electrification fees on hybrid vehicles.


 Status This bill had a public hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee on Feb.18.  An executive session has not been scheduled. This bill is unlikely to pass.


HB 1503 Establishing an alternative fuel vehicle retail sales and use tax exemption for lower-income individuals.  This bill would allow an exemption to the vehicle sales tax for EVs for low-income purchasers. 


 Status This bill had a public hearing in the House Finance Committee on Feb. 17. It was passed out of the Finance Committee and referred to the Transportation Committee on Feb. 19 but has not progressed to date. This bill is unlikely to pass.


HB 1514 Addressing transportation demand management. This bill provides a tax exemption for vehicles that are used for ridesharing. 

 Status HB 1514 passed the House on March 5 and passed the Senate on April 8. On April 13, the House concurred with Senate amendments and the Speaker signed the bill on April 14.


HB 1136 Making 2019-2021 supplemental transportation appropriations. This is the governor’s supplemental transportation budget, which each transportation committee will revise in favor of their own bills, but the committee hearings provide background for legislators on what people are interested in or concerned about. The League will support transit funding in particular. 


 Status HB 1136 had a public hearing in the House Transportation Committee on Jan. 21. These appropriations have now been included in the other budget bills so this bill will remain in its current status.


HB 1135/SB 5165 Making transportation appropriations for the 2021-23 fiscal biennium. This bill was originally the governor’s proposed biennium transportation budget proposal.  It used to host the House Transportation budget as a substitute.

 Status A public hearing was held on HB 1135 on March 23 and it was passed from the committee in executive session on March 25. It is now in the House Rules Committee. SB 5165 is one of the bills addressed in the introduction to this session. It passed the Senate on March 29 and went directly to the floor in the House. The House passed a striking amendment to SB 5165 as a transportation budget on April 2, with which the Senate declined to concur, and a conference committee has been appointed.


HB 1204 Concerning the electrification of transportation. This bill would require the Washington State Transportation Commission to develop a scoping plan by Sep. 1, 2023, to analyze the need and capacity to support electric vehicles and recommend a strategy to address equity impacts of the current requirement that all vehicle models in 2030 or later be electric and propose regulations as appropriate. 


 Status  HB 1204 passed the House Transportation Committee as a substitute and is now in the House Rules Committee. It is unlikely to pass.


SB 5192 Supporting access to electric vehicle supply equipment. This bill would increase access by the public to electric vehicle charging stations.


Status This bill passed the Senate on April 6 and has a public hearing in the House Appropriations Committee at 9:00 am on April 19.


Emission Control, Fuel Standard, and Growth Management Bills

The League is supporting or watching a number of bills related to new fuel standards, emissions controls and revisions to the Growth Management Act which have transportation elements. Please see the Climate Change Issue Web Page for the status of these.

SB 5000 Creating a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle pilot sales and use tax exemption program.

HB 1091 Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the carbon intensity of transportation fuel.

HB 1075 Reducing emissions from vehicles associated with on-demand transportation services.

HB 1099 Improving the state's climate response through updates to the state's comprehensive planning framework.

HB 1287 Concerning preparedness for a zero emissions transportation future.

Bills the League Is Watching

HB 1010 Dedicating the state sales tax on motor vehicles for transportation. This bill has not yet been scheduled for public hearing and is not likely to move.


HB 1030 SB 5031 Concerning a community aviation revitalization loan program. The bill would establish a community aviation revitalization board under WSDOT to manage loans to public access general aviation airports through a community aviation revitalization fund. The League does not have a position on aviation except that it contributes to the balanced transportation system, but members may be interested in aviation as a transportation mode and the contribution that general aviation makes to the economy. 


Status SB 5031 passed the Senate on March 4. It passed the House on April 11 and has been signed by the President of the Senate. HB 1030 passed the House on March 6 and has been passed by the Senate Transportation Committee and is now in the Senate Rules Committee. It will not move because the companion bill passed both chambers.


HB 1137 Elevating road maintenance and preservation in transportation planning. This bill would reorder the transportation priorities as follows. Note on the table in the third column the changes that League supported in 2019. The reordering of goals could have a significant effect on what is funded.


Current Goals

Proposed in HB 1137

Proposed in 2019

1

Economic vitality

Preservation

Accessibility

2

Preservation

Safety

Safety

3

Safety

Stewardship

Environment & Climate

4

Mobility

Mobility

Health & Resilience

5

Environment

Economic vitality

Equity and Environmental Justice

6

Stewardship

Environment

Preservation




Economic Vitality


 
S
tatus HB 1137 passed the House as a substitute bill. The bill retained the proposed goals listed above and removed other text in the bill that do not affect the proposed priorities. Stewardship is defined as “continuously improve the quality, effectiveness, resilience, and efficiency of the transportation system." Economic vitality is defined as “promote and develop transportation systems that stimulate, support, and enhance the movement of people and goods to ensure a prosperous economy." This bill passed the Senate with a minor amendment on April 7 and will now go through the reconciliation process. Most likely the House will accept the Senate amendment.


SB 5232 Relating to limiting bonding toll revenues on certain state highway facilities. This would limit use of toll revenues for bonding on bridges to only those bridges where tolls are used and would not allow tolls for express lanes to be used for bonding.


Status This bill passed the Senate on March 20 and had a hearing in the House Transportation Committee on April 2. It has not yet been scheduled for executive session. 


Bills the League Opposes

SB 5028 Limiting state and local taxes, fees, and other charges relating to vehicles. This bill would institute the $30 car tabs. It has not been scheduled for public hearing and is unlikely to move.


Bills the League Supports That Failed to Pass

HB 1039 Reporting on, updating, and expanding deployment of existing government programs that provide education on bicycle and pedestrian travel would enhance bicycle and pedestrian safety, including the Safe Routes to Schools program.     

 Status This bill had a public hearing in the House Transportation Committee on Feb. 4. It was scheduled for executive session on Feb. 11 but, no action was taken.



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