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News > Advocacy > Transportation and Infrastructure Legislative Update

Transportation and Infrastructure Legislative Update

Catching up on the Capital and Transportation budgets, along with transportation bills affecting counties.
1 Mar 2024

Bill updates:

HB 2384 will expand local authority to utilize automated traffic safety cameras. WSACE testified in committee in support of the bill and its companion SB 5959. The bill provides a local option for counties to use technology to reduce speeding, decrease accidents, and helps pay for safety improvements. Last night, the bill passed the Senate, and because it was both amended earlier this week in the Senate Transportation Committee and last night on the Senate Floor, it’s got to go back to the House for concurrence before final passage.

Over the course of this session, the bill has been amended to reflect changes we support, allowing cameras in work zones on county roads, and uncoupling the fine from a jurisdiction’s parking ordinance and infraction amount. The bill now allows that a fine may not exceed $145.00 but may be doubled for speeding infractions in school zones. Changes have also been made, recognizing technical and administrative amendments, to make the new authority more practical for cities with existing programs consistent with current law.

SB 6040 aims to ensure prompt payment to subcontractors, a policy goal that WSACE supports. Today, the bill passed the House; however, because it was amended earlier this week by a striking amendment in the House Capital Budget Committee, it will need to go back to the Senate for concurrence prior to final passage.

The adopted striking amendment requires the Capital Projects Advisory Review Board (CPARB) to review how well prompt pay provisions are working for small businesses, particularly women and minority-owned businesses, potential improvements that could be considered, and the potential impacts on the industry any recommendations might have. CPARB must present findings and any recommendations the board develops to the appropriate committees of the legislature on or before November 1, 2024. WSACE supports the bill.

Capital Budget update:

SB 5949/HB 2089 Concerning the capital budget.

WSACE testified in support of both bills highlighting their proposed funding levels for fish barrier removal projects and broadband.
With some differences between them, the proposed Senate and House Supplemental Capital Budgets both include additional funding for broadband and fish barrier removal projects that we support.

Both budgets included an additional $22M from the Natural Climate Solutions Account for fish barrier removal projects going to the Brian Abbott Fish Barrier Removal Board. The House budget, referring to a ballot initiative that could repeal the Climate Commitment Act next November, states, “If the natural climate solutions account is repealed as of December 30, 2024, then this section is null and void on December 31, 2024." We would prefer a final budget that doesn’t include this language.

Both budgets include additional funding for broadband. The Senate Budget provides $1M dollars for BEAD technical assistance from the State Building Construction Account. This language is preferable, as it doesn’t require the recipients of funding to be BEAD subgrantees, and it doesn’t utilize the Public Works Assistance Account, two things we asked for as changes to the Governor’s proposed Capital Budget. The House Capital Budget doesn’t include funding for technical assistance, but the House Operating Budget does at $2.5M. We are attempting to get both the right language from the Senate Capital Budget paired with the better amount ($2.5M) in the final Operating Budget. The House Capital Budget does provide an additional $11.3M from the State Building Construction Account for federal grant match requirements, and we appreciate and support this proposal.

Transportation Budget update:

HB 2134/SB 5947 Making supplemental transportation appropriations for the 2023-2025 fiscal biennium.

WSACE testified in support of both bills highlighting their proposed funding levels for programs and agency requests important to county roads.

Both budgets include continued maintenance-level funding for the County Road Administration Board (CRAB) and the Transportation Improvement Board. However, the House budget goes further to fix some things we asked for specific to the CRAB budget, so we prefer the House language in that section for the final budget.

Both budgets include language to extend the Federal Fund Exchange Pilot Program, additional funding for Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Grants ($18.5M), and Safe Routes to Schools grants ($27.2M).

The Senate budget includes two additional items we are tracking and also support. Their budget includes a request from WSDOT Local Programs to add an environmental liaison position to help local jurisdictions with project delivery, and we hope this makes it into the final budget. Also, related to project delivery, the Senate includes $375,000 for a Joint Transportation Committee workgroup to identify ways to streamline local project delivery.

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