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Transportation and Public Works Legislative Update– Week 6

Today is day 44 of the 60 day legislative sessions.  Capital, operating, and transportation budgets are being rolled out with the first hearing on the Senate capita budget held yesterday.  Hearings on the operating and transportation budgets are scheduled for today.

The Senate supplemental capital budget makes increases in a number of projects with some new funding for projects, as well.  The capital budget is scheduled for passage out of Senate Ways & Means at the committee meeting this afternoon.

Both the Senate and House released their respective versions of the supplemental transportation budget.  The transportation revenue forecast last November showed a slight decrease in funding which could have delayed projects.  The February forecast shows a forecasted increase of $300 million over the next ten years giving legislators more flexibility to balance the budget.

For the most part, the transportation budgets reflect the status quo with a few changes to project timing and funding.  WSDOT Local Programs receives funding for 15 new projects.  A complete list of Local Program projects can be found here by selecting the House or Senate version and Local Programs (Z) list from the drop-down menus.

Senate Ways & Means will be hearing their proposed supplemental operating budget this afternoon.  The latest revenue forecast provides an additional $647 million for the 2017-19 biennium and $671 for the next biennium.  The bulk of the additional funding goes to K-12 education and reducing the state school property tax levy that was increased last year for education.  More information on the operating budget will be available on WSAC’s website later this week.

The list of bills being tracked is getting shorter.  E2SHB 1332, dangerous objects on roads, passed out of the House and is scheduled to be heard in Senate Transportation today.  The bill provides authority to remove objects from private property that imminently threatens a county bridge or road.

SSB 6152, concerning road vacations abutting water, provides a limited change for road vacations involving mainline railroad bridge.  The legislation is intended to address an issue in Clark County, but is not specific to Clark County.

E2SSB 6529 establishes a pesticide application safety workgroup to develop recommendations for improving the safety of pesticide applications.  The legislation is intended to address agricultural applications but may affect herbicide use on public roads.  The bill is scheduled for hearing on 2/21 in the House Health Care & Wellness Committee.

A list of tracked bills can be found here.