The Rest of the Transportation Bills

By Erica C. Barnett January 10, 2012

Gov. Chris Gregoire's $3.6 billion, ten-year transportation funding package was the big news in transportation circles today, but advocates have their eyes on a number of other bills that are on the docket for this year's 60-day legislative session. This is by no means a comprehensive list of this year's transportation bills; nor are any of these bills (with the exception of a few that are already scheduled for hearings) guaranteed to get a hearing in committee.

Senate Bill 5188, sponsored in part by senate transportation chair Mary Margaret Haugen (D-10), would impose a number of new regulations on cities that use automated red-light traffic cameras---requiring a city-funded analysis before and every year after the cameras are put in place, requiring warning signs that cameras are coming at least 30 days before they are installed; and requiring that the yellow interval before a light turns red last a minimum of three seconds to give drivers more time to get through an intersection on yellow. (A similar house bill, 1590, would also limit the amount of fines for red-light violations to $50).

House Bill 1217, which would give cities the authority to set speed limits as low as 20 mph on nonarterial highways.

House Bill 1098, another red-light bill, would require all red-light camera proposals to be approved by a public vote, and would require limits on the number of red-light cameras that could be installed in a jurisdiction; it would also stipulate that cities could not provide information about traffic violations caught on red-light cameras to drivers' insurance companies.

House Bill 1700 would gives cities the flexibility to fund bicycle and pedestrian projects using gas taxes if those projects improve motor vehicle safety.

House Bill 1527 would allow motorcycle drivers to drive through a red light if their motorcycles are too light to trigger an automatic signal change (this one has the support of Seattle Democratic Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-36, a motorcycle driver).

House Bill 1857  would require drivers whose cars have been impounded to provide proof of insurance to get their cars out of hock (and impose stiff fines for drivers who can't provide proof of insurance) .

House Bill 1018 would require drivers to stay between three and five feet away from cyclists, depending on the driver's speed when passing them (and would clarify cyclists' responsibility to keep as far away from drivers as they feel is safe).

Senate Bill 5250 would require the state department of transportation to consider using a "design-build" process for all projects over $10 million. Design-build projects are designed and built by the same contractor, who assumes some of the risk WSDOT would have taken on under the more traditional "design-bid-build" process, in which the state is responsible for project design.
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