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Welcome to AWC’s online library of Legislative Bulletin and CityVoice news articles and other updates.

Published on Friday, April 5, 2013

Transportation update

While the focus in Olympia has shifted to the state operating budget, legislators also continue to work on funding for transportation.

Budget

Both the House and Senate Transportation Committees heard budget proposals on the afternoon of Thursday, April 4. Neither of these proposals assume new revenue, so the budgets largely maintain the status quo. Agencies and programs important to cities like the Transportation Improvement Board, Safe Routes to Schools, Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Programs, and the Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board continue to be funded, with no increases.

AWC will continue to follow these proposals as they make their way through the process. 

Statewide revenue proposals

In February, House Transportation Committee Chair Rep. Judy Clibborn (D-Mercer Island) introduced HB 1954, a nearly $10 billion package with revenues directed at a variety of projects and programs that benefit cities. (More details available here.)

We understand that Rep. Clibborn plans to release a new and smaller revenue proposal. We will share more when details become available.

Local revenue options

Several bills were introduced containing different local transportation revenue options and have been deemed “necessary to implement the budget,” which means they are not subject to the cutoff dates in the Legislature. One important bill is HB 1959:

  • Allows a transportation benefit district to impose a local annual vehicle fee of up to $40 councilmanically.
  • Allows King County to impose a motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) of up to 1.5 percent of the value of a vehicle, with the approval of the voters or upon a majority vote of the county council.
  • Requires 60 percent of the proceeds of the MVET to be used for public transportation systems and 40 percent to be distributed on a pro rate basis to cities, towns, and the county for local roads.

We understand that these local options would be included in a revenue package.

Mayors and councilmembers in Olympia to talk transportation

Local elected officials along with numerous business, labor, environmental, and other community stakeholders descended on Olympia on April 3 to talk to legislators about local options and city and transit needs. Several mayors and councilmembers from cities that signed on to the "Mayor's letter" also came to Olympia to discuss city transportation needs with key legislators. Stories of maintenance backlogs and turning streets to gravel were very compelling to legislators.

While it is still unclear whether transportation revenue and/or local options bills will pass this year, it is important for legislators to hear about critical city transportation and infrastructure needs.

Categories: Transportation
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