Legislative Update – Week 10

The Senate’s transportation revenue and spending bills are scheduled to be heard on Thursday, March 26th at 3:30pm.  The Senate’s revenue bill, ESSB 5987, increases fuel tax by 11.7 cents per gallon, raises several vehicle weight and license fees, and generates approximately $10.5 billion in revenue over the next 16 years.  The Senate spending package depends on generating revenue with bonds raising the total revenue for the package to $13.9 billion.

The Senate’s spending bill, ESSB 5988, appropriates funding to WSDOT for maintenance and preservation and improvements to state highways.  The spending bill also provides funding to local governments directly and through grant programs.  The bulk of the funding, about $10 billion, is dedicated to WSDOT.  About $1.03 billion of the funding (over 16 years) is dedicated to local programs – $282 million to counties, $201 million to cities, $266 million to bike/pedestrian, safe routes to schools, and complete streets programs, and $486 million to transit.  In addition to direct appropriations to local agencies, $463 million is appropriated for projects through WSDOT’s local programs division. Hearings on Senate transportation reform bills are expected to be scheduled the following week.

The 2013 “current law” transportation budget is scheduled to be released March 30th, with hearings to be scheduled shortly thereafter.  The current law budget will lay out appropriations without any new funding passed by the Senate. Policy bills continue to be heard in committee until the next cutoff on April 1st.  Fiscal bills have until April 7th to be passed out of committee.

A complete list of bills being tracked can be found here.

Please contact Gary Rowe if you would like more information about any bills.

Legislative Update – Week 9

Bill hearings on the Senate Transportation revenue package, ESSB 5987 and ESSB 5998, are expected to be heard next week on Thursday, March 26th. The reform bills will be heard in various committees with the first bill ESB 5993 being heard this week in the House Labor Committee.

The Capital Budget Committee will hear ESB 5624 which provides an alternative to funding capital projects through a bonding program established with the state treasurer. The bill would allow the state to underwrite local bonds which, in turn, requires a constitutional amendment to allow it.

EHB 1868 expands the purpose for county road fund expenditures to include marine infrastructure. The bill was amended in the House to include any county that include tidally influenced islands would be eligible. The bill is being heard in Government Operations & Security on Thursday, March 19th.

Senator Honeyford’s water infrastructure bill, SB 5628, is scheduled for executive action by the Senate Ways & Means Committee on March 19th. Funding for the new program is expected to come from a new statewide parcel fee. The program provides funding for water quantity, water quality, stormwater, and flood control infrastructure.

A complete list of bills can be found here.

Please contact Gary Rowe if you would like more information about any bills.

Legislative Update – Week 8

Senate transportation revenue and appropriation bills along with Senate transportation reform bills have been introduced in the House and referred to a various policy and fiscal committees for hearings.  The revenue and appropriation bills, ESSB 5987 and ESSB 5988 have been referred to the House Transportation Committee with hearings scheduled for the week of March 23rd.

The reform bills have been referred to several committees.  The most controversial bill, ESSB 5990, removes sales tax on state projects.  The bill when first introduced transferred the state portion of sales tax from the state general fund to the highway fund. The amended bill exempts state transportation projects from sales tax including local sales taxes.  ESSB 5990 has been referred to the House Appropriations Committee but no hearing has yet been set.

ESSB 5991, regarding transportation use of environmental legacy stewardship account, has been referred to the House Capital Budget Committee, ESB 5993, regarding transportation labor related issues, has been referred to the House Labor Committee, and ESSB 5994, regarding environmental permitting for state projects, has been referred to the House Environment Committee.  The remaining bills, ESSB 5992, ESSB 5995, ESSB 5996, and ESSB 5997 have all been referred to the House Transportation Committee, with no bills yet scheduled for hearing.

Several bills being tracked are awaiting a pull from the Rules Committee or are waiting for a floor vote.  If bills from the house of origin on not voted on by Wednesday, March 11th, they will be dead for the session unless they are necessary to implement the budget.

A complete list of bills being tracked can be found here.

Please contact Gary Rowe if you would like more information about any bills.

Washington State Association of County Engineers