Monday, January 14, 2008

Olympia Report: Prospective

The 2008 Legislature goes to work today in Olympia. What action should be expected on transportation issues from lawmakers over the course of this short (60-day) Session in an election year?

Members of RAMP's staff team (pulled from the Chamber, Pierce County, Port of Tacoma, Pierce Transit and Sound Transit) are in Olympia today to continue advocacy for the group's recently-adopted Legislative agenda. They will continue lobbying in pursuit of some technical changes to the current law governing transportation benefit districts, as well as for funding--keeping previously-committed funds and getting more funding--for priority projects.

The team expects only a couple of major transportation decisions to be made by state lawmakers this Session--and these two only because Governor Christine Gregoire has laid a great deal of her political capital on the line:
  • Developing a plan for funding the $2 billion shortfall for the SR-520 bridge replacement across Lake Washington;
  • Crafting a highway tolling bill that will set up the framework for how tolls will be collected.

As reported here previously, substantial action on regional transportation governance is likely to lay dormant this Session.