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Published on Friday, January 10, 2014

Transportation revenue package is a question mark in 2014

For more than a year now the Legislature has been seriously considering a statewide comprehensive transportation revenue package. Cities have been public and consistent supporters – turning out in large numbers at public hearings, meeting individually with their legislators, writing op-eds, and playing integral roles in coalitions.

Negotiations among the House, the Senate, and the Governor’s office officially ended with a joint announcement on December 18 giving some indication that there might be further action on the issue during the 2014 legislative session. The co-chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, Sen. Curtis King (R, Yakima) has been quoted this week as saying that discussions will continue, but will be focused in the Senate.

While transportation revenue remains a major priority for AWC, there are a couple of reasons why action this session will be difficult. First, the issues that the negotiators could not come to agreement on in 2013 are still unresolved. These issues are whether sales tax paid on state transportation projects should be directed to the state transportation budget rather than the operating budget; whether funds from the Model Toxics Control Account should be transferred to the transportation budget to pay for state stormwater projects; and the level of multimodal funding (i.e. bicycle/ pedestrian and transit) that should be included in the package. Second, is the overall dynamic this session. 2014 is an election year and control of the Senate is in play. Legislators are keen to finish in 60 days and focus on elections.

Despite these obstacles AWC will continue to be engaged in the discussions and communicate with members on how to push the transportation revenue package forward this session or in the future.

Categories: Transportation