S-1145.2  _______________________________________________


                         SENATE BILL 5816



State of Washington      55th Legislature     1997 Regular Session


By Senators McDonald, Heavey, Johnson, Rossi, Roach, Schow, Horn, Finkbeiner, Strannigan and Benton


Read first time 02/13/97.  Referred to Committee on Transportation.

Modifying the powers and duties of regional transportation authorities.

    AN ACT Relating to regional transportation authorities; amending RCW 81.112.010, 81.112.040, 81.112.050, 81.112.070, 81.112.080, 81.112.100, 81.112.130, 81.112.140, and 81.112.150; and repealing RCW 81.112.090 and 81.112.110.




    Sec. 1.  RCW 81.112.010 and 1992 c 101 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:

    The legislature recognizes that existing transportation facilities in the central Puget Sound area are inadequate to address mobility needs of the area.  The geography of the region, travel demand growth, and public resistance to new roadways combine to further necessitate the rapid development of alternative modes of travel.

    The legislature finds that local governments have been effective in cooperatively planning a multicounty, high capacity transportation system.  ((However, a continued multijurisdictional approach to funding, construction, and operation of a multicounty high capacity transportation system may impair the successful implementation of such a system.

    The legislature finds that a single agency will be more effective than several local jurisdictions working collectively at planning, developing, operating, and funding a high capacity transportation system.  The single agency's services must be carefully integrated and coordinated with public transportation services currently provided.  As the single agency's services are established, any public transportation services currently provided that are duplicative should be eliminated.  Further, the single agency must coordinate its activities with other agencies providing local and state roadway services, implementing comprehensive planning, and implementing transportation demand management programs and assist in developing infrastructure to support high capacity systems including but not limited to feeder systems, park and ride facilities, intermodal centers, and related roadway and operational facilities.))  The authority granted by this section shall aid in the coordination of transportation services and facilities in those areas most affected by congestion and related concerns.  Coordination can be best achieved through common governance, such as integrated governing boards.

    It is therefore the policy of the state of Washington to empower counties in the state's most populous region to create a local agency for planning and implementing a high capacity transportation system within that region.  The authorization for such an agency, except as specifically provided in this chapter, is not intended to limit the powers of existing transit agencies.


    Sec. 2.  RCW 81.112.040 and 1994 c 109 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:

    (1) The regional transit authority shall be governed by a board consisting of representatives appointed by the county executive and confirmed by the council or other legislative authority of each member county.  ((Membership shall be based on population from that portion of each county which lies within the service area.  Board)) Two members shall be appointed ((initially on the basis of one for each one hundred forty-five thousand population within the county.  Such appointments shall be made following consultation with city and town jurisdictions within the service area.  In addition, the secretary of transportation or the secretary's designee shall serve as a member of the board and may have voting status with approval of a majority of the other members of the board)) from each of the subareas identified in the authority's system plan adopted in May 1996.  Only board members, not including alternates or designees, may cast votes.

    Each member of the board, except the secretary of transportation or the secretary's designee, shall be:

    (a) An elected official who serves on the legislative authority of a city or as mayor of a city within the boundaries of the authority;

    (b) On the legislative authority of the county, if fifty percent of the population of the legislative official's district is within the authority boundaries; or

    (c) A county executive from a member county within the authority boundaries.

    ((When making appointments, each county executive shall ensure that representation on the board includes an elected city official representing the largest city in each county and assures proportional representation from other cities, and representation from unincorporated areas of each county within the service area.  At least one-half of all appointees from each county shall serve on the governing authority of a public transportation system.))

    Members appointed from each county shall serve staggered four-year terms.  Vacancies shall be filled by appointment for the remainder of the unexpired term of the position being vacated.

    ((The governing board shall be reconstituted, with regard to the number of representatives from each county, on a population basis, using the official office of financial management population estimates, five years after its initial formation and, at minimum, in the year following each official federal census.  The board membership may be reduced, maintained, or expanded to reflect population changes but)) Under no circumstances may the board membership exceed ((twenty-five)) ten.

    (2) Major decisions of the authority shall require a favorable vote of two-thirds of the entire membership of the voting members and review and approval from each of the respective legislative bodies of each county within the boundaries of an authority.  "Major decisions" include at least the following:  System plan adoption and amendment; system phasing decisions; annual budget adoption; authorization of annexations; modification of board composition; and executive director employment.

    (3) Each member of the board is eligible to be reimbursed for travel expenses in accordance with RCW 43.03.050 and 43.03.060 and to receive compensation as provided in RCW 43.03.250.


    Sec. 3.  RCW 81.112.050 and 1992 c 101 s 5 are each amended to read as follows:

    (1) At the time of formation, the area to be included within the boundary of the authority shall be that area set forth in the system plan adopted by the joint regional policy committee.  Prior to submitting the system and financing plan to the voters, the authority may make adjustments to the boundaries as deemed appropriate but must assure that, to the extent possible, the boundaries:  (a) Include the largest-population urban growth area designated by each county under chapter 36.70A RCW; and (b) follow election precinct boundaries.  If a portion of any city is determined to be within the service area, the entire city must be included within the boundaries of the authority.

    (2) After voters within the authority boundaries have approved the system and financing plan, elections to add areas contiguous to the authority boundaries may be called by resolution of the regional transit authority, after consultation with affected transit agencies and with the concurrence of the legislative authority of the city or town if the area is incorporated, or with the concurrence of the county legislative authority if the area is unincorporated.  Only those areas that would benefit from the services provided by the authority may be included and services or projects proposed for the area must be consistent with the regional transportation plan.  The election may include a single ballot proposition providing for annexation to the authority boundaries and imposition of the taxes at rates already imposed within the authority boundaries.  When annexed, taxes from an area joining the authority will be used only for facilities and services within that subarea.


    Sec. 4.  RCW 81.112.070 and 1992 c 101 s 7 are each amended to read as follows:

    (1) In addition to the powers specifically granted by this chapter an authority shall have all powers necessary to ((implement)) design a high capacity transportation system and to develop revenues for system support.  An authority may contract with the United States or any agency thereof, any state or agency thereof, any public transportation benefit area, any county, county transportation authority, city, metropolitan municipal corporation, special district, or governmental agency, within or without the state, and any private person, firm, or corporation for:  (((1))) (a) The purpose of receiving gifts or grants or securing loans or advances for preliminary planning and feasibility studies; (((2))) (b) the design((,)) or construction((, or operation)) of high capacity transportation system facilities; or (((3))) (c) the provision or receipt of services, facilities, or property rights to provide revenues for the system.  An authority shall have the power to contract pursuant to RCW 39.33.050.  In addition, an authority may contract with any governmental agency or with any private person, firm, or corporation for the use by either contracting party of all or any part of the facilities, structures, lands, interests in lands, air rights over lands and rights of way of all kinds which are owned, leased, or held by the other party and for the purpose of planning((,)) or constructing((, or operating)) any facility or performing any service that the authority may be authorized to operate or perform, on such terms as may be agreed upon by the contracting parties.  Before any contract for the lease or operation of any authority facilities is let to any private person, firm, or corporation, a general schedule of rental rates for equipment with or without operators applicable to all private certificated carriers shall be publicly posted, and for other facilities competitive bids shall first be called upon such notice, bidder qualifications, and bid conditions as the board shall determine.  This shall allow use of negotiated procurements.

    (2) Local tax revenues shall be used to benefit the five subareas of the authority district based on the share of revenues each subarea generates.  This distribution formula also applies to any future phases that may be authorized.

    (3) Work shall begin on each of the subareas simultaneously so that benefits will be realized throughout the region as soon as possible.

    (4) Segments of the plan will be implemented in stages and be operational as soon as possible; the entire system shall be completed and operational by December 31, 2007.  If the authority has not met this schedule, the authority shall roll back the tax rate to a level sufficient to pay off only the portion operational on December 31, 2007.

    (5) Upon completion of construction and implementation of the system plan, the authority shall roll back taxes to generate revenue sufficient only to provide for debt service and operating expenses.

    (6) An authority shall not enter into binding agreements or dictate any policies regarding any state funded transportation facility such as high occupancy vehicle lanes.

    (7) An authority shall not operate the transportation facility or system, but shall provide the essential coordination, planning, implementation, and funding, and contracting with existing transportation agencies for the construction and operation of necessary facilities.


    Sec. 5.  RCW 81.112.080 and 1992 c 101 s 8 are each amended to read as follows:

    An authority shall have the following powers in addition to the general powers granted by this chapter:

    (1) To carry out the planning processes set forth in RCW 81.104.100;

    (2) To ((acquire by purchase, condemnation, gift, or grant and to lease, construct, add to, improve, replace, repair, maintain, operate, and regulate)) plan, provide the funding for, and construct the ((use of)) high capacity transportation facilities and properties within authority boundaries including surface, underground, or overhead railways, tramways, busways, buses, bus sets, entrained and linked buses, ferries, or other means of local transportation except taxis, and including escalators, moving sidewalks, personal rapid transit systems or other people-moving systems, passenger terminal and parking facilities and properties, and such other facilities and properties as may be necessary for passenger, vehicular, and vessel access to and from such people-moving systems, terminal and parking facilities and properties, together with all lands, rights of way, property, equipment, and accessories necessary for such high capacity transportation systems.  When developing specifications for high capacity transportation system operating equipment, an authority shall take into account efforts to establish or sustain a domestic manufacturing capacity for such equipment.  The right of eminent domain shall be exercised by an authority in the same manner and by the same procedure as or may be provided by law for cities of the first class, except insofar as such laws may be inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter.  Public transportation facilities and properties which are owned by any city, county, county transportation authority, public transportation benefit area, or metropolitan municipal corporation may be ((acquired or)) used by an authority only with the consent of the agency owning such facilities and the approval of the legislative body of the respective county within which the facilities are located.  Such agencies are hereby authorized to convey or lease such facilities to an authority or to contract for their joint use on such terms as may be fixed by agreement between the agency and the authority.

    The facilities and properties of an authority whose vehicles will operate primarily within the rights of way of public streets, roads, or highways, may be acquired, developed, and operated without the corridor and design hearings that are required by RCW 35.58.273 for mass transit facilities operating on a separate right of way;

    (3) To dispose of any real or personal property acquired in connection with any authority function and that is no longer required for the purposes of the authority, in the same manner as provided for cities of the first class.  When an authority determines that a facility or any part thereof that has been acquired from any public agency without compensation is no longer required for authority purposes, but is required by the agency from which it was acquired, the authority shall by resolution transfer it to such agency;

    (4) To fix rates, tolls, fares, and charges for the use of such facilities and to establish various routes and classes of service.  Fares or charges may be adjusted or eliminated for any distinguishable class of users.


    Sec. 6.  RCW 81.112.100 and 1992 c 101 s 10 are each amended to read as follows:

    An authority shall have and exercise all rights with respect to the construction, ((acquisition, maintenance, operation, extension, alteration, repair, control)) funding, and management of high capacity transportation system facilities that are identified in the system plan developed pursuant to RCW 81.104.100 ((that any city, county, county transportation authority, metropolitan municipal corporation, or public transportation benefit area within the authority boundary has been previously empowered to exercise and such powers shall not thereafter be exercised by such agencies without the consent of the authority)).  Nothing in this chapter shall restrict development, construction, or operation of a personal rapid transit system by a city or county.

    An authority may adopt, in whole or in part, and may complete, modify, or terminate any planning, environmental review, or procurement processes related to the high capacity transportation system that had been commenced by a joint regional policy committee or a city, county, county transportation authority, metropolitan municipality, or public transportation benefit area prior to the formation of the authority.


    Sec. 7.  RCW 81.112.130 and 1992 c 101 s 13 are each amended to read as follows:

    Notwithstanding RCW 39.36.020(1), and subject to RCW 81.112.070, an authority may at any time contract indebtedness or borrow money for authority purposes and may issue general obligation bonds in an amount not exceeding, together with any existing indebtedness of the authority not authorized by the voters, one and one-half percent of the value of the taxable property within the boundaries of the authority; and with the assent of three-fifths of the voters therein voting at an election called for that purpose, may contract indebtedness or borrow money for authority purposes and may issue general obligation bonds therefor, provided the total indebtedness of the authority shall not exceed five percent of the value of the taxable property therein.  Such bonds shall be issued and sold in accordance with chapter 39.46 RCW.

    The term "value of the taxable property" shall have the meaning set forth in RCW 39.36.015.


    Sec. 8.  RCW 81.112.140 and 1992 c 101 s 14 are each amended to read as follows:

    (1) An authority may, subject to RCW 81.112.070, issue revenue bonds to provide funds to carry out its authorized functions without submitting the matter to the voters of the authority.  The authority shall create a special fund or funds for the sole purpose of paying the principal of and interest on the bonds of each such issue, into which fund or funds the authority may obligate itself to pay such amounts of the gross revenue of the high capacity transportation system constructed, acquired, improved, added to, or repaired out of the proceeds of sale of such bonds, as the authority shall determine and may obligate the authority to pay such amounts out of otherwise unpledged revenue that may be derived from the ownership, use, or operation of properties or facilities owned, used, or operated incident to the performance of the authorized function for which such bonds are issued or out of otherwise unpledged fees, tolls, charges, tariffs, fares, rentals, special taxes, or other sources of payment lawfully authorized for such purpose, as the authority shall determine.  The principal of, and interest on, such bonds shall be payable only out of such special fund or funds, and the owners of such bonds shall have a lien and charge against the gross revenue of such high capacity transportation system or any other revenue, fees, tolls, charges, tariffs, fares, special taxes, or other authorized sources pledged to the payment of such bonds.

    Such revenue bonds and the interest thereon issued against such fund or funds shall be a valid claim of the owners thereof only as against such fund or funds and the revenue pledged therefor, and shall not constitute a general indebtedness of the authority.

    (2) Notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, such bonds may be issued and sold in accordance with chapter 39.46 RCW.


    Sec. 9.  RCW 81.112.150 and 1992 c 101 s 15 are each amended to read as follows:

    (1) An authority may, subject to RCW 81.112.070, form a local improvement district to provide any transportation improvement it has the authority to provide, impose special assessments on all property specially benefited by the transportation improvements, and issue special assessment bonds or revenue bonds to fund the costs of the transportation improvement.  Local improvement districts shall be created and assessments shall be made and collected pursuant to chapters 35.43, 35.44, 35.49, 35.50, 35.51, 35.53, and 35.54 RCW.

    (2) The board shall by resolution establish for each special assessment bond issue the amount, date, terms, conditions, denominations, maximum fixed or variable interest rate or rates, maturity or maturities, redemption rights, registration privileges, if any, covenants, and form, including registration as to principal and interest, registration as to principal only, or bearer. Registration may include, but not be limited to:  (a) A book entry system of recording the ownership of a bond whether or not physical bonds are issued; or (b) recording the ownership of a bond together with the requirement that the transfer of ownership may only be effected by the surrender of the old bond and either the reissuance of the old bond or the issuance of a new bond to the new owner.  Facsimile signatures may be used on the bonds and any coupons.  The maximum term of any special assessment bonds shall not exceed thirty years beyond the date of issue.  Special assessment bonds issued pursuant to this section shall not be an indebtedness of the authority issuing the bonds, and the interest and principal on the bonds shall only be payable from special assessments made for the improvement for which the bonds were issued and any local improvement guaranty fund that the authority has created.  The owner or bearer of a special assessment bond or any interest coupon issued pursuant to this section shall not have any claim against the authority arising from the bond or coupon except for the payment from special assessments made for the improvement for which the bonds were issued and any local improvement guaranty fund the authority has created.  The authority issuing the special assessment bonds is not liable to the owner or bearer of any special assessment bond or any interest coupon issued pursuant to this section for any loss occurring in the lawful operation of its local improvement guaranty fund.  The substance of the limitations included in this subsection shall be plainly printed, written, or engraved on each special assessment bond issued pursuant to this section.

    (3) Assessments shall reflect any credits given by the authority for real property or property right donations made pursuant to RCW 47.14.030.

    (4) The board may establish and pay moneys into a local improvement guaranty fund to guarantee special assessment bonds issued by the authority.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 10.  The following acts or parts of acts are each repealed:

    (1) RCW 81.112.090 and 1992 c 101 s 9; and

    (2) RCW 81.112.110 and 1992 c 101 s 11.


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