State Transportation Package and Eastern WA

A sign with zero dollar amounts for gasoline, photo credit Drew Lawton via Flickr
A sign with zero dollar amounts for gasoline, photo credit Drew Lawton via Flickr


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The Sixteen year State Transportation package has passed through the Senate Transportation Committee and held a public hearing recently. An Eastern Washington Commissioner is raising alarming concerns regarding the bill. Are gas powered vehicles going to be allowed?  

Dori Luzzo Gilmour reports 


In two recent public meetings, Franklin County Commissioner Clint Didier has spoken against the massive Transportation Bill that funds projects across the state, and addresses major legislation dealing with climate change. Didier said he received a text from Senator Mark Schoelser. 

Commission Didier reads the message into the public record: 

“And he said Ben Franklin Transit fools testified Pro for the transit plan…he said taxes on license plates permits of all kinds…ends the sales of gas vehicles…this transit plan it going to end the sale of gas vehicles in the state of Washington.” 

Included in the Transportation package is an Interagency coordinating council on Electric Vehicles that would coordinate electric and zero emission vehicles needs across the state. This Council is tasked with figuring out what are the state’s infrastructure needs.  The Zero Emission vehicle mandate is to increase the sale of new passenger vehicles that use alternative fuel by 2035. 

Joel Creswell is the Climate Policy Section Manager for the Department of Ecology. Creswell explains that gas powered vehicles are the largest source of air pollution. 

“Transportation is our biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Washington State. And we already have limits in law, that we have to hit by 2030,2040 and 2050. To basically bring our states net carbon emissions down to zero and so we can’t get there without addressing transportation,” Creswell says.

The Clean Fuel Standard will create incentives that will increase accessibility for fuel agnostic vehicles. This includes vehicle rebate programs and subsidies for infrastructure on charging stations.  

The Cleans Vehicles program that is sponsored by Ecology does model new rules, based on California’s program regarding passenger vehicles.  Since 2020, the Clean Cars Act has directed Ecology to Adopt California’s vehicle emission standards.  

Creswell wants to emphasize however one important point regarding gas powered vehicles: 

“First of all I can say pretty emphatically that there is no language in the transportation package that would ban  gas cars on roads. Washington would not have the authority to do that on a state level to begin with.” 

Developing a plan to meet the goals and deadlines for Washington state takes interagency cooperation but will not eliminate gas vehicles in the state. In response to Commssioner’s Didiers statement regarding Ben Franklin Transit testifying before the Transportation Committee  
BFT does not have any other documents relating to that lobbying.  BFT was registered as an audience member to listen to the testimony regarding the bill.  BFT did not prepare or provide any materials, did not testify, or speak regarding the bill, and did not utilize the services of a lobbyist regarding this bill. 

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