Monday, January 12, 2015

2015 State Legislative Priorities

The 2015 Washington State Legislature convenes today in Olympia. It is a biennial budget year, which means the session is scheduled for 105 days. Many budget-year legislatures continue into special sessions, taking business further into the spring.

Community Transit will be tracking legislative activity closely, as several bills could make a big difference in the future of transit service in Snohomish County.

Legislation that would allow the agency to ask local voters to increase financial support for transit service is the top priority in this year’s state legislative agenda.

Community Transit's 2015 State Legislative Priorities

"Local Option" legislation – Community Transit is at the maximum taxing authority allowed by law. The agency is asking the state legislature to pass “local option” legislation that would allow the agency to seek up to a three-tenths (0.3) of one percent sales tax increase to support transit.

Should this legislation pass, it would be up to the Community Transit Board of Directors to decide if and when to put such a measure to a local vote.

Regional Mobility Grant projects – Approval of the WSDOT Recommended Regional Mobility Project List for 2015-2017, which includes $6.8 million for the Seaway Transit Center near Paine Field and $2.68 million for a Mukilteo Park & Ride.

State transportation package – Secure legislative passage of a statewide transportation funding package that includes significant state investment in public transportation, and includes $1 billion (or 10 percent of total revenue) for Snohomish County transportation projects.

Maintain existing programs – Fully fund the Regional Mobility Grant program at $50 million, plus re-appropriations, for the current biennium. Continue the fee revenue-based transit operating grant program at $26 million per biennium, and maintain funding for the vanpool, special needs and Commute Trip Reduction programs.

Transit-friendly legislation – Support legislation that provides for the effective and efficient delivery of transit services within an integrated multi-modal transportation system. Oppose legislation that would negatively impact the oversight, financing, construction, and delivery of transit service and projects.

As the session moves forward, keep reading this blog for updates on activity concerning transit service and funding. We'd love to hear your thoughts.

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