2012 Legislative Session
The Washington State Legislature is considering Governor Christine Gregoire's proposed transportation revenue package during the early stages of the 2012 Legislative Session.
The bill numbers for the revenue components of the package are HB 2660 in the House and SB 6455 in the Senate. There are associated policy bills being considered by the House and Senate Transportation Committees, as well.
The current package is one outcome of the Governor's Connecting Washington Task Force effort. The Governor "...charged the Connecting Washington Task Force with reviewing statewide transportation needs, recommending the most promising investment options and revenue sources to address top priorities." The group was comprised of locally elected officials, members of State Legislative Transportation Committees, tribal members, organized labor, and trade associations and businesses.
The results of the effort are presented in a final report dated January 6, 2012.
Jefferson and Other Counties
If adopted, the package could have the following impacts on Jefferson County and other counties.
· The proposed increase in the passenger vehicle weight fee would create revenue distributed among several funds, including the County Arterial Preservation Account. Preliminary estimates are that the increase is expected to approximately double the amount counties receive annually for the County Arterial Preservation Program (CAPP). Jefferson County uses these funds for annual maintenance of main County roads such as Center Road, Chimacum Road and Irondale Road.
· The Transportation Benefit District (TBD) option for a vehicle license fee is authorized to go from $20 to $40 with a 2/3 majority of the local legislative body, which in our case means the Board of County Commissioners approves the formation of a TBD by a majority or unanimous vote. A TBD allows a local agency to collect revenue for specific transportation improvements within the District.
· Counties are authorized to impose a 1% local option Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET). There is a requirement to negotiate an interlocal agreement with cities and the transit agency within the county to distribute a portion of the revenue. The interlocal must distribute a maximum of $20 per vehicle in each city to the cities within the county for local road operation and maintenance needs.
· $2.7 billion of the $3.6 billion transportation revenue package is expected from the $1.50 per barrel fee on every person who refines petroleum products for transportation purposes in the state. This revenue is intended as a dedicated source of funds for operating and maintaining the State’s highway and ferry system.