Collaboration in Civic Spheres

ESSB 6381: Public Transportation Roadmap, “Flexible-Carpooling” Pilot Project Funded With Stimulus Dollars

by Matt Rosenberg April 5th, 2010

Effective March 30, 2010, Washington State Engrossed Senate Substitute Bill (ESSB) 6381 finalizes spending plans in the 2009-2011 budget period for $341.4 million in federal stimulus money for state transportation work. The funds are to help accelerate planned work delayed due to declining gas tax revenues, and to help pay for other projects to fix or improve the state transportation system. Two noteworthy items in the bill are development of a statewide blueprint for public transportation expansion, and a pilot project for “flexible,” or on-the-fly carpooling in the SR 520 bridge corridor.

KEY LINKS:

2009-2011 Supplemental Transportation Budget (ESSB 6381)

Legislative History.

SUMMARY OF HIGHLIGHTS:

Statewide Public Transportation Blueprint. Using $350,000 in stimulus money, the Washington state legislature’s Joint Transportation Committee will by Dec. 15, 2010 prepare and deliver to the state house and senate transportation committees for consideration and possible further action a statewide blueprint for public transportation. The blueprint shall address unmet operating and capital needs of public transportation agencies, including improvements to public transportation service and access, and connectivity between public transportation providers across jursidictional boundaries. The study must also assess the state role in funding unmet needs for public transportation; criteria for prioritization, efficiency and accountability of funded projects; and maximization of mobility, social, economic and environmental benefits. (pp. 11-12). (Page numbers refer to original document, not document reader).

Flexible Carpooling Pilot Project. Using $400,000 in stimulus money, a winning applicant selected by the state department of transportation will conduct a pilot project in a high-volume commuter area that enables car-pooling without pre-arrangement and uses technologies that allow for transfer of ride credits between participants. The project must include a membership system with pre-screening, to ensure safety, and must specifically target commuter traffic on the SR 520 bridge corridor across Lake Washington between Seattle and the Eastside. The state department of transportation will report to the legislature in December 2010 on the pilot project, and provide recommendations for future flexible carpooling projects. (More: WSDOT’s flexible carpooling program page). UPDATE: According to WSDOT, a lead contractor is expected to be selected by late April or at the latest, early May.

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