Transportation

Because being there is what's most important, WPC's Center for Transportation researches and analyzes the best practices for relieving traffic congestion by recapturing a vision of a system based on freedom of movement.

Transportation Blog

Seattle housing task force wants to raise taxes to make neighborhoods more crowded

July 15, 2015 in Blog

Danny Westneat’s Seattle Times column on phasing out single-family housing in Seattle drew over 250 comments within the first three hours of being posted online. By the next day, readers had logged over 700 more. Why is a column about housing in Seattle drawing such a large response? A proposal by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s housing task force suggests officials may want to make sweeping changes to many of Seattle’s neighborhoods.

Vancouver, B.C. voters reject light rail and subway projects

July 2, 2015 in Blog

While Sound Transit officials prepare to ask people living in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties to pay billions in new taxes for more costly light rail projects, they may be experiencing nervous shock at what just happened in a neighboring city to the north.  Voters in Metro Vancouver, B.C. just handed a resounding “No” to local transit officials, coming in 62% against a proposed subway and light rail expansion project.

Legislature approves budget/transportation package; averts government shutdown but work still to be done for budget to balance

July 1, 2015 in Blog

With just hours to spare before a partial state government shutdown, the legislature overwhelmingly adopted the state’s 2015-17 budget. By a vote of 38-10 in the Senate and 90-8 in the House, lawmakers approved a $38.2 billion biennial budget ($79 billion all funds). This represents a 13% increase in spending from the 2013-15 budget.

Legislature unanimously passes long standing WPC recommendation to prioritize congestion relief

June 30, 2015 in Blog

Lawmakers have again made reducing traffic congestion a top priority for state officials. Prior to 2007, the state used performance-based benchmarks to make sure that transportation tax dollars were being used effectively to reduce traffic congestion. In 2007, lawmakers repealed that language and replaced it five goals of transportation policy. State lawmakers added a sixth policy goal in 2010. Congestion relief is not among them.

Oregon lawmakers work to repeal costly low carbon fuel standard rules, while in Washington, the fight over imposing similar rules stalls passage of key transportation bill

June 24, 2015 in Blog

Oregon Governor Kate Brown is working with a bi-partisan group of lawmakers to repeal the state’s low carbon fuel standard regulations (LCFS) as part of passing a broad congestion-relief transportation package.  The agreement shows how a governor and lawmakers of both parties can come together to pass important legislation that serves the people of their state.  Unfortunately, things are working differently in Washington.

Talks on state transportation package shut down; pitting new taxes against funding for public projects

June 20, 2015 in Blog

According to House Transportation Committee Chair Judy Clibborn (D-Mercer Island), Democratic leaders have decided to halt work on a transportation package until state leaders agree on a state operating budget.  House leaders say they want to work on passing a new capital gains income tax, despite receiving $3.2 billion in new revenue under current tax rates.

Governor Inslee signs $7.6 billion transportation budget; no pilot program for new per-mile tax

June 12, 2015 in Blog

Yesterday, Governor Inslee signed a two-year transportation budget into law. The $7.6 billion plan includes about $5 billion for the Washington State Department of Transportation over the next two years, $430 million for the Washington State Patrol, and dedicates about $1.5 billion to pay off Nickel and TPA bonds. The budget for the 2015-2017 biennium also funds other transportation-related offices and departments, like the Department of Licensing.

Drivers in Washington are hitting the road; travel up five percent over last year

June 4, 2015 in Blog

According to new information provided by the Federal Highway Administration, driving across the United States is on the rise. According to the latest report, nationwide vehicle miles traveled (the amount people drive) in the first three months of the year is up 3.9% compared to last year. The Western region of the United States saw a 5.3% year-over-year uptick in road travel for March alone.

Rideshares now under statewide framework – Senate Bill 5550 signed by Governor Inslee

May 22, 2015 in Blog

Things will get a bit easier for rideshare drivers and their customers under a bill Governor Inslee signed into law last week. Senate Bill 5550, originally sponsored by Senators Cyrus Habib and Joe Fain, provides a statewide structure of insurance requirements for rideshare companies to allow rideshare expansion across the state. WPC provided analysis on the bill back in February.

Sound Transit could build more light rail without raising regressive taxes

May 6, 2015 in Blog

Sound Transit’s demands for new taxing authority have become a sticking point in the debate in the legislature over a new transportation package.  Sound Transit officials want an estimated $15 billion in new taxing authority.  They want a 0.5% increase in Sound Transit’s sales tax authority, to a total of 1.4% (which would bring the total sales tax rate in Seattle to 10.1%), a 0.8% increase in the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax authority to a total of 1.1%, and a property tax increase of .25 per $1,000 of assessed value ($100/year on a $400,000 house).