Free youth transit access, expanded traffic cameras within transportation budget passed in Senate

Feb 16, 2022, 5:43 PM | Updated: Feb 17, 2022, 8:42 am
The Fremont Bridge, Seattle (Flickr)

The Washington state Senate has cleared a significant threshold in its attempt to pass its progressive $16 billion transportation package, titled “Move Ahead Washington.” Its funding bill passed through the Senate on Tuesday evening, largely unaffected by conservative pushback that came in a series of attempted amendments.

The spending bill has a number of impacts on Washingtonians were it enacted:

  • Creating a tax on exported gasoline to neighboring states (Washington state has traditionally exempted certain fuel exports from state duties)
  • Increasing fees for enhanced drivers’ licenses and plates
  • Placing restrictions on certain highway projects to better accord with safety design for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Allocating funds generated by carbon taxes under the Climate Commitment Act
  • Authorizing local governments to use sales taxes for the benefit of transportation projects
  • Modulating tolls on I-405 to increase speeds in HOV lanes
  • Expanding the scope and range of automated traffic cameras
  • Largely waiving fees for children 18 and younger to access public transit and Amtrak trains

Transportation packages are traditionally funded in part through gasoline taxes, a process that involves the creation of state debt, and therefore requires supermajority approval in Congress. This bill avoids that prior hurdle, creating funding through alternative means.

Multi-billion dollar transportation package would strike down repeal of fuel export tax

On Tuesday evening, the Senate passed six of 17 proposed amendments, largely along party lines. Notable amendments include 1160, sponsored by Sen. Liz Lovelett (D-40th District), which apportions $500 million for the enhancement of “stormwater runoff treatment from existing road and infrastructure with an emphasis on green infrastructure retrofits,” as the amendment reads.

Presumably, the amendment was drafted, in part, in response to growing concern among fish biologists that so-called “forever chemicals” created by particulates from vehicle tires leach into the water supply via storm drain runoff, decimating specific populations of salmon.

That particular issue was a highlight of the Lorraine Loomis Act, written at the request of Gov. Jay Inslee. Sources tell KIRO Newsradio that the bill is not likely to pass this session: It has not received a committee hearing since late January, and although not technically subject to Tuesday’s cutoff, is not likely to be heard in committee.

Republican amendments that failed largely included apportionment of funds toward specific development projects and rollbacks of certain taxes. Notably, Move Ahead Washington was drafted behind closed doors, with Republicans vocally criticizing the lack of transparency as the transportation bills under Move Ahead Washington were written.

“The danger with the current package is not only the increase in fees but … the increase in fees and taxes on specific exports,” Sen. Simon Sefzik (R-42nd District) said Tuesday.

“There’s pretty much two potential options: Either one, like with this gas export, taxed states are going to find other places to receive their gas, their imports, in which case that’s going to disincentive production in our state, which will cost jobs and harm the economy, or refineries will choose to eat the cost and still produce those exports,” he said. “But that will still harm the economy because those refineries then can’t use those funds to invest in other things, which as a result cost jobs.”

Local News

(Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images)...
Frank Sumrall

Mayor’s search for permanent Police Chief looms over Seattle amid depleting law enforcement numbers

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell recently consulted with a hiring firm as the decision to choose the next Chief of Police heats up.
2 days ago
Seattle Sun...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Sunny skies, warm temperatures forecast for western Washington this weekend

Sunny skies and warm temperatures are forecast for much of western Washington, with some areas expected to reach temps in the 70s.
2 days ago
Student STEM...
Nicole Jennings

From athletes to mathletes: STEM Signing Day shines light on WA scholars

STEM Signing Day gives stellar science, technology, engineering, and math scholars a chance to shine in the same way as high school athletes.
2 days ago
Prison 900x506...
MyNorthwest Staff

Governor Inslee cancels parole determination for triple murderer

Governor Inslee has cancelled an order that granted parole to Timothy Pauley, who had been incarcerated for three counts of first degree murder in 1981.
2 days ago
revive I-5...
MyNorthwest Staff

Revive I-5, Montlake Bridge closure will cause traffic issues this weekend

The sunny forecast will put Seattleites in a great mood this weekend, but the traffic won't thanks to repairs to I-5 and the Montlake Bridge.
2 days ago
Police follow protesters as they move through the city during racial justice protests on November 3...
Hanna Scott

Report on 2020 protests recommends new training for SPD, debunks “mob psychology”

SPD’s approach to the 2020 protests underutilized de-escalation through dialogue and relied on indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Free youth transit access, expanded traffic cameras within transportation budget passed in Senate