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Published on Monday, August 14, 2017

Unexpected excitement in the transportation world

We expected a relatively quiet year on the transportation front as we headed into the 2017 legislative session. The heavy lifting required to pass the Connecting Washington transportation package in 2015 left a feeling that this biennia’s transportation focus would be light. The 2017-2019 transportation budget was just that. It had few surprises, and made good progress on issues important to cities. For details on this budget see our past Legislative Bulletin article here. A short synopsis can be found below.

  • $250,000 of city fuel taxes for the Department of Fish and Wildlife to identify city-owned fish passage barriers that share the same stream systems as state-owned fish passage barriers to identify, map and provide a preliminary assessment of city-owned barriers that need correction.
  • $60,000 of city fuel taxes for the Freight Mobility Investment Board (FMSIB) to manage and update the road-rail conflicts database produced based on the Joint Transportation Committee's "Study of Road-rail Conflicts in Cities,” in 2016.
  • $43,800,000 of federal appropriations to National Highway Freight Network projects.
  • $300,000 to the Transportation Commission to continue to evaluate a road usage charge (RUC) as an alternative to the motor vehicle fuel tax.

While the transportation budget held few surprises, there was much greater activity on the policy front. Major issues dominated the 2017 legislative session. These included:

  • Significant debate, but no compromise, around Sound Transit’s recent transportation initiative (Sound Transit 3);
  • The regulation of transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft, but again, no compromise;
  • Progress on ensuring Washington State is in line with federal Real ID requirements (SB 5008); and
  • A new law governing distracted driving in the form of the prohibition of using hand held devices behind the wheel (SB 5289).

Bill #

Descriptive title

Final status

HB 1018

Modifying the maximum amount for grants provided to airports and air navigation facilities

Law; Effective 7/23/2017

HB 1149

Exempting public transit vehicles equipped with a bike rack from the 3-foot limit for front vehicle protrusions

Law; Effective 7/23/2017

HB 1490

Eliminating the requirement that a city or town report preservation rating information

Law; Effective 7/23/2017

SB 5008

Facilitating compliance with the federal REAL ID act by modifying driver's license and identicard design and fees

Law; Effective 7/23/2017

SB 5049

Requiring relocation assistance following real property acquisition

Law; Effective 7/23/2017

SB 5289

Modifying the infraction of and penalties for distracted driving

Law; Effective 7/23/2017

HB 1498

Concerning high hazard flammable train speed limits in certain urban areas

Did not pass

HB 1656

Establishing a community aviation revitalization loan program

Did not pass

HB 2147

Concerning taxpayer relief for persons subject to a motor vehicle excise tax imposed by a regional transit authority

Did not pass

HB 2148

Establishing a regional transit authority rebate program for low-income individuals

Did not pass

HB 2149

Requiring a taxpayer accountability statement to be included with regional transit authority motor vehicle excise taxes

Did not pass

HB 2150

Requiring a taxpayer accountability statement to be included with regional transit authority property taxes

Did not pass

HB 2166

Nullifying the imposition of certain taxes within regional transit authority boundaries

Did not pass

HB 2168

Concerning the administration of motor vehicle excise taxes by regional transit authorities

Did not pass

SB 5098

Concerning high hazard flammable train speed limits in certain urban areas

Did not pass

SB 5817

Nullifying the imposition of certain taxes within regional transit authority boundaries

Did not pass

SB 5893

Concerning the administration of motor vehicle excise taxes by regional transit authorities

Did not pass

SB 5905

Concerning taxpayer relief for persons subject to a motor vehicle excise tax imposed by a regional transit authority

Did not pass

SB 5906

Establishing a regional transit authority rebate program for low-income individuals

Did not pass

SB 5908

Requiring a taxpayer accountability statement to be included with regional transit authority motor vehicle excise taxes

Did not pass

SB 5909

Requiring a taxpayer accountability statement to be included with regional transit authority property taxes

Did not pass

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