PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
Subject of Possible Rule Making: Commute trip reduction (CTR) alternate plans.
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: The agency's authority to adopt CTR program rules is granted under RCW 70.94.537. The pilot rule-making process is authorized by RCW 34.05.313.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: CTR program's purpose [is] to address air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption and traffic congestion may be achieved more effectively, efficiently, and flexibly. The traditional design and focus of CTR plans will be subjected to research through testing the feasibility of alternative models and targeted solutions. Alternate plans will be implemented to develop information that will be used by the board to evaluate current rules and may result in the development of new or modified rules, as well as recommendations to the legislature for modifications to the program.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: Regional transportation planning organizations (RTPOs), counties and cities regulate land use and implement commute reduction plans and programs under chapter 70.94 RCW. The pilot will involve cities and counties testing the feasibility of experimental commute reduction alternate plans using strategies and processes different than the plans defined in current rules and the program. RTPOs will be involved as local alternate plans are coordinated with regional plans and as an alternate plan reviewer for the CTR board. The state program will be working collaboratively with these local agencies to develop alternate plan feasibility studies. Once the pilot tests have been conducted and results evaluated, the CTR board will develop its recommendations for enhancements to the program and its rules.
Process for Developing New Rule: Pilot rule making; this is a pilot that tests the feasibility of different experimental approaches than the current CTR rules and program in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, and traffic congestion. Vehicle emissions are the source of nearly half of the greenhouse gases released in Washington state. The pilot could result in new or modified rules for the program, plan design and implementation, thereby creating greater effectiveness in performance outcomes, increased efficiency in administration and more local flexibility.
Some of the limited number of feasibility study alternate plans approved to be included in this pilot by the CTR board could include a waiver of certain rules in chapter 468-63 WAC to test alternatives. The Washington department of transportation determines that the waiver of rules is in the public interest and necessary to conduct the research projects. An alternate plan with its rule waiver for that particular jurisdiction would continue through the end of the pilot. A local jurisdiction will not be subject to state enforcement action for operating under a CTR board approved alternate plan for their jurisdiction instead of the current rules and program expectations for traditional CTR plans.
The four-year pilot rule making will conduct tests of alternative approaches through alternate plans for specific local jurisdictions. The program will provide a list of required elements for an alternate plan proposal and the process for plan development and submittal to the CTR board for their consideration. The pilot will begin in 2012, with those alternate plans which are approved for inclusion in the pilot to begin implementation under grant contract work plans in 2013. A mid-term report on progress will be required of alternate plan participants in June 2014. A final report of performance and alternate plan evaluation by plan participants will be required in June 2016. The program would assess the results of the pilot in 2016 for the 2017 report to the legislature, including any recommended changes to its law and rules for the future. Per RCW 34.05.313 on pilot rule making, a pilot alternate plan can be terminated at any point by the participant by notifying the CTR board. The CTR board may amend or terminate an alternate plan, if performance measurements for the alternative approach are not at least equivalent to the traditional CTR plan's historical performance in that jurisdiction. While testing experimental approaches to enhance the program and its performance, the improvements already achieved in drive-alone trips and vehicle miles traveled should not be sacrificed. At minimum, a proposed alternate plan performance would need to maintain a jurisdiction's current baseline performance on those deliverables. If an alternate plan is terminated before the conclusion of the pilot, the jurisdiction will return to implementing a traditional CTR plan.
Office of the governor's Executive Order 11-03 currently limits noncritical state rule making and adoption through the end of 2012. However, an exception to that limitation exists for rule development of this kind, which is beneficial to, requested by, or supported by local governments. Local governments have requested the opportunity to address local circumstances that contribute to air and traffic problems through some flexibility and will benefit from participating in this pilot. Depending upon the results of the pilot, additional local governments may benefit from the ultimate evolution of the program and its rules.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication. Mail or e-mail comments to A. Alexandra DeMoss, Department of Transportation, P.O. Box 47387, Olympia, WA 98504-7387, e-mail DeMossA@wsdot.wa.gov.
September 24, 2012
Stephen T. Reinmuth
Chief of Staff