Just like that, we are one-quarter of the way through session. As we move into week three, January 27-31, we can expect more bill hearings and executive sessions. Lawmakers have until February 11 to get bills out of the transportation and capital budget committees, so time is something bills have a short supply of.
Among the dozens of bills being heard this week in the House and Senate Transportation Committees, those that are of interest to counties include legislation related to traffic control signals and traffic safety, all-terrain vehicles (see last week’s post), and tractor-trailer expansion.
SB 6403/HB 2501 – Sen. Judy Warnick (R-Moses Lake)/Rep. Carolyn Eslick (R-Sultan) – These bills would allow counties to use the multiuse roadway account for maintenance on any road within a county that is authorized for wheeled all-terrain vehicles on a travel or tourism route, and on brochures and mapping technology that would aid in the safety and direction for the users of the routes.
SB 5789/HB 1793 – Sen. Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood)/Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-West Seattle) – These bills increase the types of violations that can be detected through a traffic camera, and set up an “active transportation safety account” to fund grant projects or programs for bicycle, pedestrian, and non-motorist safety improvements.
SB 6597/HB 2692 – Sen. Tim Sheldon (D-Shelton)/Rep. Beth Doglio (D-Olympia) – These bills would allow for triple trailers if, and when, the United States Federal government lifts the ban on triples imposed in 1991. States that allowed for triple trailers before this date were grandfathered in, such as Oregon and Idaho. Under the bills, WSDOT must collect data about their impact on highway safety, traffic movement, and the environment. WSDOT is also granted the authority to make rules related to its operation and use to ensure a safe and efficient highway system.
Two bills of concern that are related to public works are also on the move this week.
5457 – Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines) – This bill would require prime contractors to list all subcontractors on bid documents for projects over $1 million. Counties have significant concerns with this legislation as tremendous liability falls on the county if, and when, a prime contractor fails to follow through with the requirement. Counties have been working with various stakeholders to remedy our concerns. The bill may see floor action this week.
2744 – Rep. Beth Doglio (D-Olympia) – This bill would require that any agency, local government, owner, etc., that receives capital budget funds for public works larger than 5,000 gross square feet, or for transportation projects funded or carried out by WSDOT in excess of $1 million, to require bidders to submit environmental product declarations for each eligible material proposed to be used. The owners would then need to transmit a copy of each declaration, along with material quantities of all eligible materials to be used on the project, to the Department of Commerce.