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Published on Friday, April 10, 2015

House version of transportation package expected this week

The House is expected to release their version of a transportation package in the coming days and then, as currently scheduled, it will be passed out of the House Transportation Committee on Tuesday, April 14. We do not yet know what will be in the House proposal, but will share that information as soon as we have it. As a reminder, here are some important components that cities want to see in a final package:

  • Direct distribution and Transportation Improvement Board (TIB): Cities are requesting the equivalent of one cent of gas tax for a combination of direct distribution and increased funding for TIB. In the Senate package, the direct distribution over 16 years is $375 million for cities AND counties, with 63 percent for counties and 37 percent to cities. Rather than an increase for TIB, the Senate package decreased current funding levels for TIB.
  • Transportation Benefit Districts (TBD). TBDs have become important transportation funding tools for cities, so we would like to see the vehicle fee authority increased to $50 and include the administrative efficiencies in Rep. Jake Fey’s (D-Tacoma) HB 1757.

What happens next?

Once the House Transportation Committee passes out their transportation revenue proposal, the House and Senate can begin negotiating on a final package. It is expected that there will be some stark differences between the two chambers’ approaches so they will have to compromise and find middle ground. The negotiations will happen behind closed doors between negotiating teams from both parties and both chambers.

What should you do in the meantime?

Continue to communicate city priorities directly to your legislators. Tell them why a comprehensive statewide package that addresses city needs is essential to the state’s economic future. Eroding and inadequate transportation infrastructure threatens our economic competitiveness, safety, and quality of life. City streets are a critical part of the state’s transportation system.

The Keep Washington Rolling coalition is also engaged in several efforts to keep the transportation issue front and center. Here are some ways you can “keep up the volume” on transportation:

  • Sign on to this open letter to Governor Inslee and the Legislature, which has nearly 500 signatures so far.
  • Reach out to your local media about the transportation needs of your local community.
  • Be active on social media about your city’s transportation needs. You can “like” the Keep Washington Rolling Facebook page here, and for those of you on Twitter, please use #TranspoNow in your tweets on this issue.
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