Attention: You are using an outdated browser, device or you do not have the latest version of JavaScript downloaded and so this website may not work as expected. Please download the latest software or switch device to avoid further issues.

News > Advocacy > Transportation and Infrastructure Legislative Update: Policy Cutoff

Transportation and Infrastructure Legislative Update: Policy Cutoff

With the first cutoff come and gone, here’s an update regarding some important bills we have been working on.
2 Feb 2024
Advocacy

Featured

WSACE

With the first cutoff come and gone, here’s an update regarding some important bills we have been working on.

Revenue:

A pair of impact fee bills that could impede counties’ ability to pay for infrastructure were heard in committee this week.

HB 2451 would limit the amount counties can increase impact fees to the Consumer Price Index, and SB 6285 would arbitrarily cap the amount of fees paid for any one project at 50%. The Senate bill also includes a new requirement that impact fees be spent within five years instead of ten, which is inconsistent with current project delivery timelines. WSACE testified opposed to both bills raising concerns that they could harm our ability to deliver Capital Facilities Projects and maintain levels of service on our roadways.

Neither bill has been scheduled for further action in committee.

SB 5770, which would remove the arbitrary 1% property tax cap on county revenue, was heard in the Senate Ways and Means Committee during the second week of session. WSACE testified alongside other county and local jurisdiction partners in support of the bill, highlighting the structural deficit between county revenues and expenses the cap has created and the damage it has caused to the county transportation system.

The bill remains in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Procurement:

SB 5133 modifies responsible bidder criteria for public works projects. The bill adds apprenticeship utilization requirements contractors must meet before they can be a responsive bidder. WSACE testified, expressing concerns involving the timing of the new requirements. HB 1050, which created a new statewide apprenticeship utilization program, passed last session, and we are actively training county staff on the requirements. Changing the criteria so soon, in our view, is untimely. We also raised concerns in committee about how the changes would impact the number of bids we receive and how they might impact sub-contractors.

The bill remains in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

SB 6040 aims to ensure prompt payment to subcontractors, a policy goal that WSACE supports. We testify with concerns, however, on the original bill. Our primary concern was that the language was unclear who was responsible for the prompt payment, the contractor or the county. This is important because, with our current procurement process, we typically don’t have a contractual relationship with subcontractors and, therefore, lack a mechanism to pay them. We also shared concerns that language requiring payment within “30 days after the work is accepted” would have caused some confusion. Generally, payments are made based on progress estimates prepared by the agency and agreed to by the contractor and not at “acceptance,” which usually occurs when the project is 100% complete. We were thankful the bill sponsor convened a stakeholder meeting following the hearing to gather feedback and introduced a Substitute Bill clarifying the language prior to the Executive Session.

The Substitute Bill is in the Rules Committee, and WSACE supports the changes.

Safety and Operations:

SB 5959 would expand local authority to utilize automated traffic safety cameras. WSACE testified alongside the Association of Washington Cities in support of the bill as it provides a local option to use technology to reduce speeding, decrease accidents, and pay for safety improvements. We requested that the bill allow cameras in work zones on county roads and have since made some other suggestions for technical changes to make the program more practical for counties to implement.

The bill is scheduled for Executive Session in the Senate Transportation Committee.

HB 2051 aims to reduce emissions from small off-road engines and was heard on January 11th in the House Environment & Energy Committee. WSACE had concerns with the original bill, including impacts on our ability to respond during inclement weather, not wanting to tie future agency rulemaking to the California Code of Regulation, and the effect a proposed sales and use tax exemption would have on county revenue. A Proposed Substitute Bill, which narrowed these concerns considerably, was introduced and scheduled for Executive Session; however, it was eventually pulled from the schedule.

The bill failed to make it out of committee prior to cutoff.

Similar stories

The 2024 House, Senate, and Governor’s proposed supplemental budgets have now all been released. Overall, county programs fared well, with increases i… More...

Updates on transportation bills that made it through cutoff, those that died, and the Transportation and Capital Budget hearings. More...

As expected, the house of origin cutoff that occurred on February 13th resulted in more bills dying and the field of bills moving being winnowed down. More...

image

Address

206 Tenth Avenue SE
Olympia, WA 98501

Follow us on Social Media

This website is powered by
ToucanTech