What’s happening with legislation and the House transportation proposal

Dear neighbors, 

Things are moving fast here in the House of Representatives, so I wanted to give you an update about what I’m working on.

This e-newsletter includes quick notes about three pieces of legislation I introduced and a look at the historic transportation package the House is proposing.

Plastic packaging 

Our landfills and oceans are filling up with plastic. I introduced legislation (House Bill 1488to help tackle this problem. The bill targets both rigid and flexible plastic packaging. It establishes a minimum standard for recycled content for such products and levies a fee on plastic that doesn’t meet those requirements. The revenues would be distributed to local governments.  

If this bill becomes law, it would also require transparency and accountability by collecting information about the weight and resin type of plastic used for packaging in Washington state. 

Conserving energy 

I wrote House Bill 1446 to make sure utilities don’t fall out of compliance with our state’s conservation targets due to events beyond the reasonable control of the utility, such as this global pandemic, and eliminate penalties for missing those targets that would have to be paid by electric ratepayers.

Land title reform 

There are five counties in our state still using the slow, expensive, and obsolete Torrens land title registration system. This is bad for consumers. Under the Torrens system, land title registration must go through the courts, which takes more time and expense. A court order involving inheriting land under the Torrens system can cost $1,200 in recording fees alone due to the number of documents.   

I wrote House Bill 1376 to make sure all of Washington state uses the quicker, simpler, and cheaper method of registering land titles. 

Investing in transportation 

Our daily lives are hugely affected by transportation. It dictates where we live, how we get to work—and how long it takes—where we go to school or university, and which stores and services we can access. 

Yet the economic boom in Washington state didn’t just bring one million new residents. It brought one million more people using the same highways, buses, trains, and ferries. 

Newspapers agree that we must act: 

It’s time to not only invest in our state’s transportation system, but to rethink, reimagine, and transform it. That’s why I’m writing a $26 billion, 16-year proposal to transform transportation in Washington state. 

This historic package would accelerate our move toward greener, cleaner transportation options and more alternatives to driving alone on the highway. 

The House proposal is larger than any other in state history because our challenge is bigger. It’s also unique because our plan raises revenue without borrowing. By paying as we go, we’ll save taxpayers billions of dollars in interest payments. 

Here are a few highlights of the House proposal: 

Fighting climate change—The plan includes a carbon fee on transportation fuels, with the revenue going toward (1) investing in transportation choices such as buses, trains, ferries, bicycling, and walking paths, and (2) investments in carbon reduction like helping make the switch to electric vehicles. 

Preserving and maintaining what we have—For too long, preservation and maintenance have taken a back seat to building new projects. This plan includes $6 billion to protect and strengthen state and local transportation infrastructure. Preservation and maintenance cost taxpayers far less than replacing a structure after total failure. 

New projects—To build for the future, $6.7 billion in new road-related investments through state and local governments, $1 billion to help replace the I-5 bridge between Washington and Oregon, funds to build four new hybrid-electric ferries, and money to keep our word to the tribal nations to rebuild fish passages and comply with federal directives.

I’ll keep you updated as the House and Senate both consider long-term investments to improve and transform transportation in Washington state. I believe we should dream big and fight hard to move Washington state toward a cleaner, more flexible system that works for all of us. 

Keep in touch

Thank you for taking the time to get informed and involved. Please contact my office to share your comments, ideas, and questions.

I look forward to hearing from you!

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