Big push for transportation package – and changes

An overflow hearing in the House Transportation Committee showed strong support for a statewide transportation package – and for changes to bills that advanced in the state Senate earlier this month.

JudyClibborn

House Transportation Chair Judy Clibborn confers with Representative Joan McBride prior to a marathon hearing. “It’s my goal to get this passed,” Clibborn said.

Business, labor, environmental and elected leaders all showed up to encourage more forward motion on a transportation package, which would be the first major state package in a decade.

The hearing was about two bills – ESSB 5987 and ESSB 5988, which are linked to reforms that also advanced from the Senate.

The combined potential transportation investment is roughly $26 billion.

Many changes to the Senate package were requested, including:

  • More direct state funding for city streets and county roads
  • Full authority sought by Sound Transit to better connect the region with a vote on ST 3 in 2016
  • Elimination of linkages between a potential new low carbon fuel standard and funding for certain transportation improvements
  • Doing more to address climate change
  • Reducing the impact of the transportation package on other state programs, like education
  • Funding more bicycle and pedestrian improvements.

The timing of the next move on a package is uncertain.  Operating budget proposals start emerging today.

It is traditional for any major transportation package to ultimately be linked to resolution of the state’s operating fund budget, which is generally about the last thing lawmakers do prior to adjournment.

The constitutional deadline for adjournment this year is April 26th.

The absolute deadline for enacting a budget to keep state government running is June 30th.

 

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