Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Senate Transportation Package Detailed

The first public hearings on the Transportation Package revenue bills is Wednesday, Feb. 18, at 3:30 p.m. in the Senate Transportation Committee. AWB’s government affairs staff is lining up panels of business representatives to testify on those bills.  A number of our Grassroots Alliance partners will also be testifying.

For your information, here are details about the various bills:

Revenue bills:
SB 5987  Concerning transportation revenue
SB 5988 Concerning additive transportation funding and appropriations
SB 5989 Authorizing bonds for transportation funding

Reform bills:
SB 5990 Transferring certain state sales and use taxes collected on transportation projects to the connecting Washington account.
Requires that sales and use tax on transportation projects be transferred to the Connecting Washington Account (within the Motor Vehicle Fund).
Becomes effective on only new-law revenue projects upon becoming a law.
Becomes fully effective on all other transportation projects starting with the 2019-2021 biennium.

SB 5991 Concerning activities at the department of transportation funded by the environmental legacy stewardship account.
Designates 20% starting in the 2015-2017 biennium from the ELSA account for WSDOT stormwater legacy projects and culvert projects.

SB 5992 Modifying certain requirements for ferry vessel construction.
Requires WSF to use a design-build, fixed price contract.
Design and Coastguard approval must be complete before construction begins.
WSF must hire an Independent Owners Representative to manage ferry contract(s).
Initial bids will have a Build in WA requirement, but if they are all above 5% of the engineer’s estimate, the contract will be rebid and out-of-state companies may bid.
The project budget may not contain more than 5% of the fixed price contract as contingency.

SB 5993 Concerning public works contracts and projects.
Changes WSDOT apprenticeship requirements from 15% to 13%, and makes the apprenticeship provision apply only to projects costing $3 million or more.
Percentage decrease in apprenticeship requirements sunsets in ten years (2015-2025).
Makes prevailing wage surveys able to be submitted electronically.
Excludes the payment of prevailing wages to off-site workers involved in the manufacture or fabrication of nonstandard items used or incorporated into the project on new law transportation projects.
Restore funding for helmets to hardhats program.

SB 5994 Concerning permits for state transportation corridor projects.
Limits the use of a local hearing officer to only those appeals of critical area permits where WSDOT consents - otherwise, appeal goes to the superior court.
Declares that WSDOT is not required to obtain various local zoning permits for construction staging areas related to the construction of state highways.
Provides that only WSDOT or another permittee may appeal building permits issued by cities, towns, or counties for temporary buildings supporting highway construction.
"To the greatest extent practicable" permits must be issued to WSDOT within 90 days of filing the permit application.
Exempts highway maintenance and certain minor highway improvements from the Shorelines Management Act.
Exempts projects from the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) if they are categorically excluded under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Excludes WSDOT construction material that does not threaten human or environmental health from the definition of solid waste under RCW 70.95.030.

SB 5995 Modifying the transportation system policy goal of mobility.
Adds "congestion relief and improved freight mobility" to the existing Mobility Goal.

SB 5996 Concerning Washington state department of transportation projects.
Addressing the permitting of certain transportation projects (ESHB 1978).
Creates a seven-step required permitting process for all transportation projects. undertaken by WSDOT that require the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act.
Requires the Dept. of Ecology to undertake rule-making and convene a work group regarding local permitting of transportation projects under the Shoreline Management Act.
Directs WSDOT to continue using the multiagency permit program and places various requirements upon the staff and the program.
Requires WSDOT environmental staff to develop all environmental documentation and oversee project work in order to ensure compliance.
Removed sections 10 and 13 in previous version to 520 and AWV project and right-sizing provisions.

SB 5997 Concerning transportation project delivery.
Encourages WSDOT to use Design Build on projects over $10 million.
Creates Expert Review Panel to include two outside experts, WSDOT, AGC, and ACEC to make recommendations for improvement of Design Build Project delivery.


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