Published on May 20, 2019

A busy year for Washington transportation policy

Contact: Logan Bahr

Several significant transportation policies were considered by the Legislature this year. Some of the major policy conversations included the drafting of a two-year transportation budget (HB 1160), the consideration of a new transportation funding package (HB 5971), and tolling along certain, much-traveled stretches of state highways (HB 5825). While Sen. Hobbs’ (D–Lake Stevens) 10-year, $17 billion transportation package did not pass this year, it will likely be heatedly discussed during the interim and be back, in some form, during the 2020 legislative session.

There were several city-specific transportation bills that passed this session. Several bills concerned the emerging transportation policy issue of micromobility, which includes electric scooters (HB 1772) and personal delivery robots (HB 1325). Both bills were amended to include provisions that retain local government regulatory authority and will stand as important examples of local control as the micromobility policy conversation matures. Cities also benefited from the passage of Rep. Ramos’ (D–Issaquah) HB 2038, which repealed a burdensome state-mandated pavement data reporting requirement.

Over the objections of local governments, SB 5505 passed this year, reinstating problematic administrative requirements for local governments seeking stormwater fees from state facilities. However, there were several bills which died that, if passed, would have had added significant costs or burdens to local governments. Examples include the repeal of local government tolling authority (SB 5104), state regulation of transportation network companies (SB 5926), and a mandate to electrify public vehicle fleets (HB 1832).

The Legislature chose not to enact Initiative 976, so this “car tabs” bill will be presented to voters during the next general election in November 2019. If passed, it will have a significant impact on state and local transportation revenues, including the elimination of fee revenue for city Transportation Benefit Districts. Learn more about I-976’s impact at AWC’s I-976 webpage.

The interim will be full of studies and committee meetings with implications for Washington’s transportation system. Studies on statewide transportation priorities and electrification of public fleets will commence, and a Joint Transportation Committee study concerning the fiscal conditions of city transportation systems will conclude. Watch for our monthly Legislative Bulletin emails to keep updated on these issues and more.

Transportation bills

Bill #

Brief description


HB 1160

Making transportation appropriations for the 2019-2021 fiscal biennium.

Delivered to Gov. Scheduled for signature on May 21.

HB 1325

Regulating personal delivery devices.

Law; effective September 1, 2019

HB 1512

Concerning the electrification of transportation.

Law; effective July 28, 2019

HB 1772

Concerning motorized foot scooters.

Law, effective July 28, 2019

HB 2038

Concerning pavement condition reporting requirements.

Law; effective July 28, 2019

SB 5370

Creating a state commercial aviation coordinating commission.

Law, effective July 28, 2019

SB 5505

Addressing the use of local stormwater charges paid by the department of transportation.

Delivered to Gov. Scheduled for signature on May 21.

SB 5695

Concerning high occupancy vehicle lane penalties.

Delivered to Gov. Scheduled for signature on May 21.

SB 5825

Addressing the tolling of Interstate 405, state route number 167, and state route number 509.

Delivered to Gov. Scheduled for signature on May 21.


Limiting state and local taxes, fees, and other charges relating to vehicles.

Did not pass

HB 1508

Concerning the distribution of connecting Washington funds to local and state transportation agencies.

Did not pass

HB 1793

Establishing additional uses for automated traffic safety cameras for traffic congestion reduction and increased safety.

Did not pass

HB 1832

Concerning the electrification of the Washington public vehicle fleet.

Did not pass

SB 5104

Prohibiting local governments from imposing vehicle tolls.

Did not pass

SB 5378

Regulating personal delivery devices.

Did not pass

SB 5417

Authorizing military surplus vehicles to operate on public highways.

Did not pass

SB 5521

Concerning the distribution of connecting Washington funds to local and state transportation agencies.

Did not pass

SB 5751

Concerning motorized foot scooters.

Did not pass

SB 5789

Establishing additional uses for automated traffic safety cameras for traffic congestion reduction and increased safety.

Did not pass

SB 5926

Concerning transportation network companies.

Did not pass

SB 5970

Authorizing bonds for transportation funding.

Did not pass

SB 5971

Concerning transportation funding.

Did not pass

SB 5972

Concerning additive transportation funding and appropriations.

Did not pass

  • Transportation
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  • Auditor rolls out tips to help local governments #BeCyberSmart

  • Personal delivery devices can now be licensed

  • Grants for HB 1923 close soon

  • New online resource for affordable housing planning

  • Update on statewide Drug Take-back Program implementation

  • Rulemaking proposed for Oil Spill Contingency Rule – New hearing scheduled

  • Seeking feedback on cannabis related draft bills

  • Congratulations to the new Speaker of the House

  • Register for two free webinars covering FCC Order on cable franchising

  • Initiative 976 headed to voters with potential impacts to state and local transportation funding

  • Public Works Board approves $85 million in infrastructure loans

  • Space available at free rural broadband workshops

  • State Auditor announces hourly billing rate adjustment

  • Incentivizing the development of commercial office space

  • New state law incentivizes increased residential building capacity and density

  • Draft city B&O tax model ordinance sent out for review

  • L&I seeking feedback on proposed sick leave FAQ

  • JLARC reporting system reopened until August 28

  • Measure to repeal affirmative action initiative makes November ballot

  • The 2020 Census is hiring!

  • Law enforcement mapping system survey is now open

  • States & cities clash over potential opioid settlements

  • Public hearings coming up for proposed building code changes

  • Drinking Water Consolidation Study grants open

  • Reminder: Housing Trust Fund soliciting applications for affordable housing projects

  • Fish Consumption Rule in flux

  • JLARC recommends modification of the Multifamily Housing Tax Exemption program

  • Grant application period opens for freight rail capital projects

  • Guidebook on civilian-military land use now available to community planners

  • Rulemaking proposed for Oil Spill Contingency Rule

  • Learn how to advocate for your city during the legislative interim

  • Updates to City B&O tax model ordinance underway

  • Setting the stage for 2020

  • Public defense improvement grant applications open now

  • Washington Nonprofits and OFM releases 2020 Census resources

  • Law enforcement grant program due July 19!

  • PFML premium remittance & reporting due by July 31

  • Proposed overtime rules scheduled for a series of public hearings

  • Agency rulemaking begins on prevailing wage for landscape maintenance

  • NLC Housing Task Force releases report

  • Ecology releases 2020 water quality project funding list

  • Joint Transportation Committee hears report on city transportation funding needs

  • Feds seeking comments on changes to reporting blocked railroad crossings

  • Housing Trust Fund soliciting applications for affordable housing projects

  • Ruckelshaus Center releases report of new GMA vision & planning framework

  • Update on Ecology’s water resource policies

  • AWC files amicus in support of city rights-of-way in FCC legal challenge

  • Celebrating our 2019 City Champions and kicking off 2020

  • National League of Cities releases Micromobility Guide

  • Statewide initiatives and referenda update

  • “Keep Washington Working” bill signed into law; amends policy for when law enforcement can provide information to federal immigration authorities

  • Law enforcement training rulemaking adopted

  • Governor’s Smart Communities Award winners announced

  • L&I proposes new overtime rule

  • JLARC public records reporting now open

  • HB 1087 establishes new, long-term care insurance program funded by employee premiums

  • I-1000 to take effect July 28 – no mandates for local government

  • DRS announces new employer pension contribution rates

  • PFML premium remittance and reporting begins July 1

  • B&O tax surcharge on services

  • Nonresident sales tax changes take effect July 1, 2019

  • City B&O tax model ordinance update

  • Attorney General adopts new tribal consent and consultation policy

  • Ecology launches statewide recycling education campaign – Recycle Right

  • Rulemaking announced for railroad oil spill planning

  • New resource to identify project grant and loan funding

  • Newly passed affordable housing bills require city action on tight timelines

  • 2019 was a solid session for cities – now we look ahead to 2020

  • Infrastructure funding takes a hit again, but some good news for public works contracting

  • A busy year for Washington transportation policy

  • Addressing the behavioral health system: improvements made, more work to be done

  • Tough budget decisions amid new revenue

  • Non-housing land use and planning bills

  • Many open government bills introduced, few become law

  • Economic development wins and losses

  • General government grab bag

  • Plastics, recycling, and orcas drive environmental policy changes for cities

  • A few major energy policy bills enacted this year

  • Key public safety and cannabis issues addressed this session

  • 2019 Legislature passes an array of personnel bills

  • Progress made towards a systems approach to correct fish-blocking culverts

  • Late breaking proposal stabilizes and strengthens toxic cleanup and prevention systems

  • Affordable housing takes center stage; slower year on homelessness

  • Initiative 976 headed to voters; potential impacts to state and local transportation funding

  • 2019 session adjourns on time – a solid session for cities

  • Legislature reaches deal on final state budget in last days of session

  • Graduated REET and state service B&O tax bills pass as part of state operating budget revenue package

  • Late-breaking MTCA bill a big win for cities, but it is not without risk

  • AWC priority housing bill passes during budget negotiations

  • Final status of recycling-related bills

  • Affirmative action initiative passed by Legislature, will become law

  • New law requires a searchable database of land use decisions

  • Legislature passed bills heard by Finance Committee on Friday

  • AWC’s public records reporting fix bill passes Legislature

  • May 15 is the deadline for submitting 2018 lodging tax reports

  • Legislature passes Governor’s broadband bill

  • Sunshine Committee recommendation bill passes Legislature

  • State passes transportation budget over weekend, heads to Governor

  • Amended public works bid limit bill passes Legislature

  • SR-167, I-405 tolling and bonding bill passes Legislature

  • First-responder occupational disease compromise bill signed by Governor

  • AWC requests veto on $300 million LEOFF 2 transfer bill

  • Bill proposing new requirements for state-paid stormwater fees passes Legislature

  • Firefighters’ pension levy bill passes with modifications

  • Paint stewardship bill returns from the dead, passes Legislature

  • Last minute fix made in key density bill

  • Opioid treatment bill advances to Governor for signature

  • Trueblood settlement bill unanimously passes Legislature

  • Hate crimes bill passes Legislature

  • Legislature passes bill related to informant and eyewitness evidence

  • Animal fighting bill delivered to Governor

  • Final week of session is here!

  • Data tool explores Transportation Benefit District revenues threatened by I-976

  • Trueblood bill passes House

  • Tax bills related to operating budget move out of committees

  • Senate refuses to concur on changes to firefighters’ pension levy bill

  • $300 million LEOFF 2 transfer bill advances to the Senate

  • City pavement data reporting reform bill signed into law

  • Firefighter safety best practices bill signed into law

  • Bill concerning the electrification of transportation signed into law

  • Union dues bill passes Legislature

  • Robot delivery device bill passes Legislature

  • Motorized foot scooter bill passes Legislature

  • Affirmative action initiative gets joint hearing in the Legislature

  • House amends and passes public works bid limit bill

  • Bill establishing new law enforcement grant program passes Senate

  • Behavioral health community facilities bill passes House

  • New legal framework for short-term rentals passes the Legislature

  • Self-help housing bill passes House without REET exemption

  • Pollinator habitat protection bill passes Legislature

  • Parks deannexation bill passes Legislature

  • House passes Governor’s broadband bill

  • City support needed to keep AWC’s public records bill alive

  • Opioid treatment bill passes House

  • Voluntary site cleanup for housing bill passes Legislature

  • Drug Take-Back Program rules released for comment

  • Chemical Action Plan bill passes Legislature

  • Amended version of 911 local tax option bill passes House

  • Smoke alarm bill passes House

  • Domestic violence reform bill passes Legislature

  • Firearm removal and protection orders bill passes Legislature

  • House amends and passes bill dealing with property in impounded vehicles

  • Legislature passes marijuana convictions vacations bill

  • Wrongful death bill passes Legislature

  • Final cutoff looms while budget negotiations are ongoing