S-0809.1  _______________________________________________


                         SENATE BILL 5314



State of Washington      57th Legislature     2001 Regular Session


By Senators Roach, Benton, Fairley, Honeyford, Johnson, Stevens, Swecker, Hochstatter and Finkbeiner


Read first time 01/18/2001.  Referred to Committee on Transportation.

Requiring voter approval on significant alterations to regional transit authority projects.

    AN ACT Relating to requiring voter approval on significant alterations to regional transit authority projects; and amending RCW 81.112.030.




    Sec. 1.  RCW 81.112.030 and 1994 c 44 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:

    Two or more contiguous counties each having a population of four hundred thousand persons or more may establish a regional transit authority to develop and operate a high capacity transportation system as defined in chapter 81.104 RCW.

    The authority shall be formed in the following manner:

    (1) The joint regional policy committee created pursuant to RCW 81.104.040 shall adopt a system and financing plan, including the definition of the service area.  This action shall be completed by September 1, 1992, contingent upon satisfactory completion of the planning process defined in RCW 81.104.100.  The final system plan shall be adopted no later than June 30, 1993.  In addition to the requirements of RCW 81.104.100, the plan for the proposed system shall provide explicitly for a minimum portion of new tax revenues to be allocated to local transit agencies for interim express services.  Upon adoption the joint regional policy committee shall immediately transmit the plan to the county legislative authorities within the adopted service area.

    (2) The legislative authorities of the counties within the service area shall decide by resolution whether to participate in the authority.  This action shall be completed within forty-five days following receipt of the adopted plan or by August 13, 1993, whichever comes first.

    (3) Each county that chooses to participate in the authority shall appoint its board members as set forth in RCW 81.112.040 and shall submit its list of members to the secretary of the Washington state department of transportation.  These actions must be completed within thirty days following each county's decision to participate in the authority.

    (4) The secretary shall call the first meeting of the authority, to be held within thirty days following receipt of the appointments.  At its first meeting, the authority shall elect officers and provide for the adoption of rules and other operating procedures.

    (5) The authority is formally constituted at its first meeting and the board shall begin taking steps toward implementation of the system and financing plan adopted by the joint regional policy committee.  If the joint regional policy committee fails to adopt a plan by June 30, 1993, the authority shall proceed to do so based on the work completed by that date by the joint regional policy committee.  Upon formation of the authority, the joint regional policy committee shall cease to exist.  The authority may make minor modifications to the plan as deemed necessary and shall at a minimum review local transit agencies' plans to ensure feeder service/high capacity transit service integration, ensure fare integration, and ensure avoidance of parallel competitive services.  The authority shall also conduct a minimum thirty-day public comment period.

    (6) If the authority determines that major modifications to the plan are necessary before the initial ballot proposition is submitted to the voters, the authority may make those modifications with a favorable vote of two-thirds of the entire membership.  Any such modification shall be subject to the review process set forth in RCW 81.104.110.  The modified plan shall be transmitted to the legislative authorities of the participating counties.  The legislative authorities shall have forty-five days following receipt to act by motion or ordinance to confirm or rescind their continued participation in the authority.

    (7) If any county opts to not participate in the authority, but two or more contiguous counties do choose to continue to participate, the authority's board shall be revised accordingly.  The authority shall, within forty-five days, redefine the system and financing plan to reflect elimination of one or more counties, and submit the redefined plan to the legislative authorities of the remaining counties for their decision as to whether to continue to participate.  This action shall be completed within forty-five days following receipt of the redefined plan.

    (8) The authority shall place on the ballot within two years of the authority's formation, a single ballot proposition to authorize the imposition of taxes to support the implementation of an appropriate phase of the plan within its service area.  In addition to the system plan requirements contained in RCW 81.104.100(2)(d), the system plan approved by the authority's board before the submittal of a proposition to the voters shall contain an equity element which:

    (a) Identifies revenues anticipated to be generated by corridor and by county within the authority's boundaries;

    (b) Identifies the phasing of construction and operation of high capacity system facilities, services, and benefits in each corridor.  Phasing decisions should give priority to jurisdictions which have adopted transit-supportive land use plans; and

    (c) Identifies the degree to which revenues generated within each county will benefit the residents of that county, and identifies when such benefits will accrue.

    A simple majority of those voting within the boundaries of the authority is required for approval.  If the vote is affirmative, the authority shall begin implementation of the projects identified in the proposition.  However, the authority may not submit any authorizing proposition for voter-approved taxes prior to July 1, 1993; nor may the authority issue bonds or form any local improvement district prior to July 1, 1993.

    (9) If the vote on a proposition fails, the board may redefine the proposition, make changes to the authority boundaries, and make corresponding changes to the composition of the board.  If the composition of the board is changed, the participating counties shall revise the membership of the board accordingly.  The board may then submit the revised proposition or a different proposition to the voters.  No single proposition may be submitted to the voters more than twice.  The authority may place additional propositions on the ballot to impose taxes to support additional phases of plan implementation.

    If the authority is unable to achieve a positive vote on a proposition within two years from the date of the first election on a proposition, the board may, by resolution, reconstitute the authority as a single-county body.  With a two-thirds vote of the entire membership of the voting members, the board may also dissolve the authority.

    (10) At any time if a proposition approved by the voters is significantly altered by actions of the board, the proposition will be resubmitted to the voters within the boundaries of the originally approved proposition.

    A significant alteration to a proposition is:

    (a) An increase in cost for completion of the proposition approved by the voters equal to or greater than thirty percent of the cost identified in the proposition approved by the voters;

    (b) A delay of twenty-four months or more of the entire proposition submitted to and approved by the voters;

    (c) Elimination of any portion or element of the original proposition submitted to and approved by the voters.

    Once a significant alteration to the proposition has been approved by an action or an accumulation of actions by the board of the proposition originally approved by the voters, the board must submit to the voters within the boundaries of the authority at the next general election for approval of the significant alteration of the original proposal.

    If the authority is unable to achieve an affirmative vote on the increase of the cost, delay, or modification of the proposition originally submitted to the voters, the board may submit an alternative proposition in each of the next two general elections.


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