This Washington

The Dead Bills File: Transit, Cycling Lost Out in Olympia

By Erica C. Barnett February 18, 2010

Three bills that were among the top priorities for transit and cycling advocates died this week after failing to make it past the cutoff date for legislation to move out of its house of origin.

A bill sponsored by Rep. Marko Liias (D-21) that would have allowed transit agencies like King County Metro to charge a $20 vehicle-license fee to help fund transit service died this week, despite what the Transportation Choices Coalition described as "heroic efforts" by Liias to bring it up for a vote. Transit advocates viewed the legislation, a version of which Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed last year, as critical in light of cuts to transit service across the state ranging from 15 to 50 percent.

As we noted earlier this week, the vulnerable roadway users bill, which would have imposed extra penalties on drivers who kill or seriously injure vulnerable roadway users, such as cyclists, pedestrians, and wheelchair users, with a car, also failed to make it to a vote.

Also dead: The Complete Streets bill, which would have required the state transportation department to consider cyclists and pedestrians when retrofitting state highways that function as city streets (and created, but not funded, a grant program for complete streets projects).

The bad news for transit and cyclists wasn't exactly unexpected: At the start of the session, TCC policy director Bill LaBorde told PubliCola transit advocates faced a "difficult timeline" and budget situation going into this year's session.
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