Long-standing WPC recommendation to add congestion relief as a goal gets public hearing
Congestion relief is not a goal when public officials decide to build roads, but that may soon change. House Bill 2123 would re-establish congestion relief as a transportation policy goal, creating an official relationship between spending and relieving traffic congestion.
Washington currently has six transportation goals. They are:
Preservation: To maintain, preserve and extend the life and utility of prior investments in transportation systems and services.
Safety: To provide for and improve the safety and security of transportation customers and the transportation system.
Mobility: To improve the predictable movement of goods and people throughout Washington state.
Environment: To enhance Washington's quality of life through transportation investments that promote energy conservation, enhance healthy communities and protect the environment.
Stewardship: To continuously improve the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of the transportation system.
Economic Vitality: To promote and develop transportation systems that stimulate, support, and enhance the movement of people and goods to ensure a prosperous economy.
Prior to 2007, lawmakers had implemented very specific performance measures that tied spending to congestion relief. They were:
Traffic congestion on urban state highways shall be significantly reduced and be no worse than the national mean, and delay per driver shall be significantly reduced and be no worse than the national mean.
These performance measures were eliminated by the legislature in 2007 and replaced with the six transportation goals mentioned above.
The current policy goal of mobility, does not include reducing traffic congestion, and instead focuses on improving the "predictable movement of goods and people." This means that a predictable commute from Everett to Seattle could go from 90 minutes to a still-congested 89 minutes, and public officials would meet their goal.
HB 2123 would amend the definition of Mobility to the following:
Mobility: To improve the predictable movement of goods and people throughout Washington state, including congestion relief and improved freight mobility.
The bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Transportation Committee on Tuesday, February 4th, at 3:30pm.