SB 5996-S.E2 - DIGEST

Requires the department of transportation to: (1) Work cooperatively and proactively with state regulatory and natural resource agencies, public and private sector interests, and Indian tribes to avoid project delays;

(2) Expedite project delivery and routine maintenance activities through the use of programmatic agreements and permits where possible and seek new opportunities to eliminate duplicative processes; and

(3) Submit a report to the transportation committees of the legislature detailing engineering errors on highway construction projects resulting in project cost increases in excess of five hundred thousand dollars.

Requires the department of transportation, the department of ecology, and the department of fish and wildlife to: (1) Use their existing authorities and guidance to provide a preference for the removal of existing fish passage barriers owned by cities and counties as compensatory mitigation for environmental impacts of transportation projects where appropriate; and

(2) Consult with other relevant entities to develop a framework for encouraging off-site and out-of-kind local fish passage barrier mitigation that provides results that are consistent with habitat protection priorities and are ecologically preferable to on-site mitigation.


July 6, 2015

To the Honorable President and Members,
The Senate of the State of Washington

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am returning herewith, without my approval as to Section 9, Second Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill No. 5996 entitled:

"AN ACT Relating to Washington state department of transportation projects."

This bill is one of several substantive transportation reform bills I am signing into law today. The goal of this particular bill is to streamline the environmental decision making process for transportation projects without sacrificing environmental protections. Section 9 contains additional reporting requirements for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) on lean efforts and to complete a Baldridge assessment. I wholeheartedly support adequately measuring and reporting on performance metrics and lean management efforts. The transportation investment package, however, already includes a number of studies and reports WSDOT must complete and prioritize within available funding. The unfunded requirements in Section 9 of this bill unnecessarily hinder efforts to implement this and other reform bills.

For these reasons I have vetoed Section 9 of Second Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill No. 5996.

With the exception of Section 9, Second Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill No. 5996 is approved.

Respectfully submitted,
Jay Inslee