The legislature finds that:
(1) Washington state is uniquely positioned as a gateway to the global economy. As the most trade-dependent state in the nation, per capita, Washington's economy is highly dependent on an efficient multimodal transportation network in order to remain competitive.
(2) The vitality of the state's economy is placed at risk by growing traffic congestion that impedes the safe and efficient movement of goods. The absence of a comprehensive and coordinated state policy that facilitates freight movements to local, national, and international markets limits trade opportunities.
(3) Freight corridors that serve international and domestic interstate and intrastate trade, and those freight corridors that enhance the state's competitive position through regional and global gateways are strategically important. In many instances, movement of freight on these corridors is diminished by: Barriers that block or delay access to intermodal facilities where freight is transferred from one mode of transport to another; conflicts between rail and road traffic; constraints on rail capacity; highway capacity constraints, congestion, and condition; waterway system depths that affect capacity; and institutional, regulatory, and operational barriers.
(4) Rapidly escalating population growth is placing an added burden on streets, roads, and highways that serve as freight corridors. Community benefits from economic activity associated with freight movement often conflict with community concerns over safety, mobility, [and] environmental quality. Efforts to minimize community impacts in areas of high freight movements that encourage the active participation of communities in the early stages of proposed public and private infrastructure investments will facilitate needed freight mobility improvements.
(5) Ownership of the freight mobility network is fragmented and spread across various public jurisdictions, private companies, and state and national borders. Transportation projects have grown in complexity and size, requiring more resources and longer implementation time frames. Currently, there is no comprehensive and integrated framework for planning the freight mobility needs of public and private stakeholders in the freight transportation system. A coordinated planning process should identify new infrastructure investments that are integrated by public and private planning bodies into a multimodal and multijurisdictional network in all areas of the state, urban and rural, east and west. The state should integrate freight mobility goals with state policy on related issues such as economic development, growth management, and environmental management.
(6) State investment in projects that enhance or mitigate freight movements, should pay special attention to solutions that utilize a corridor solution to address freight mobility issues with important transportation and economic impacts beyond any local area. The corridor approach builds partnerships and fosters coordinated planning among jurisdictions and the public and private sectors.
(7) It is the policy of the state of Washington that limited public transportation funding and competition between freight and general mobility improvements for the same fund sources require strategic, prioritized freight investments that reduce barriers to freight movement, maximize cost-effectiveness, yield a return on the state's investment, require complementary investments by public and private interests, and solve regional freight mobility problems. State financial assistance for freight mobility projects must leverage other funds from all potential partners and sources, including federal, county, city, port district, and private capital.
Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter.
(1) "Board" means the freight mobility strategic investment board created in RCW 47.06A.030
(2) "Department" means the department of transportation.
(3) "Freight mobility" means the safe, reliable, and efficient movement of goods within and through the state to ensure the state's economic vitality.
(4) "Local governments" means cities, towns, counties, special purpose districts, port districts, and any other municipal corporations or quasi-municipal corporations in the state excluding school districts.
(5) "Public entity" means a state agency, city, town, county, port district, or municipal or regional planning organization.
(6) "Strategic freight corridor" means a transportation corridor of great economic importance within an integrated freight system that:
(a) Serves international and domestic interstate and intrastate trade;
(b) Enhances the state's competitive position through regional and global gateways;
(c) Carries freight tonnages of at least:
(i) Four million gross tons annually on state highways, city streets, and county roads;
(ii) Five million gross tons annually on railroads; or
(iii) Two and one-half million net tons on waterways; and
(d) Has been designated a strategic corridor by the board under RCW 47.06A.020
(3). However, new alignments to, realignments of, and new links to strategic corridors that enhance freight movement may qualify, even though no tonnage data exists for facilities to be built in the future.
(1) The board shall:
(a) Adopt rules and procedures necessary to implement the freight mobility strategic investment program;
(b) Solicit from public entities proposed projects that meet eligibility criteria established in accordance with subsection (4) of this section; and
(c) Review and evaluate project applications based on criteria established under this section, and prioritize and select projects comprising a portfolio to be funded in part with grants from state funds appropriated for the freight mobility strategic investment program. In determining the appropriate level of state funding for a project, the board shall ensure that state funds are allocated to leverage the greatest amount of partnership funding possible. The board shall ensure that projects included in the portfolio are not more appropriately funded with other federal, state, or local government funding mechanisms or programs. The board shall reject those projects that appear to improve overall general mobility with limited enhancement for freight mobility.
The board shall provide periodic progress reports on its activities to the office of financial management and the senate and house transportation committees.
(2) The board may:
(a) Accept from any state or federal agency, loans or grants for the financing of any transportation project and enter into agreements with any such agency concerning the loans or grants;
(b) Provide technical assistance to project applicants;
(c) Accept any gifts, grants, or loans of funds, property, or financial, or other aid in any form from any other source on any terms and conditions which are not in conflict with this chapter;
(d) Adopt rules under chapter 34.05
RCW as necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter; and
(e) Do all things necessary or convenient to carry out the powers expressly granted or implied under this chapter.
(3) The board shall designate strategic freight corridors within the state. The board shall update the list of designated strategic corridors not less than every two years, and shall establish a method of collecting and verifying data, including information on city and county-owned roadways.
(4) The board shall utilize threshold project eligibility criteria that, at a minimum, includes the following:
(a) The project must be on a strategic freight corridor;
(b) The project must meet one of the following conditions:
(i) It is primarily aimed at reducing identified barriers to freight movement with only incidental benefits to general or personal mobility; or
(ii) It is primarily aimed at increasing capacity for the movement of freight with only incidental benefits to general or personal mobility; or
(iii) It is primarily aimed at mitigating the impact on communities of increasing freight movement, including roadway/railway conflicts; and
(c) The project must have a total public benefit/total public cost ratio of equal to or greater than one.
(5) From June 11, 1998, through the biennium ending June 30, 2001, the board shall use the multicriteria analysis and scoring framework for evaluating and ranking eligible freight mobility and freight mitigation projects developed by the freight mobility project prioritization committee and contained in the January 16, 1998, report entitled "Project Eligibility, Priority and Selection Process for a Strategic Freight Investment Program." The prioritization process shall measure the degree to which projects address important program objectives and shall generate a project score that reflects a project's priority compared to other projects. The board shall assign scoring points to each criterion that indicate the relative importance of the criterion in the overall determination of project priority. After June 30, 2001, the board may supplement and refine the initial project priority criteria and scoring framework developed by the freight mobility project prioritization committee as expertise and experience is gained in administering the freight mobility program.
(6) It is the intent of the legislature that each freight mobility project contained in the project portfolio approved by the board utilize the greatest amount of nonstate funding possible. The board shall adopt rules that give preference to projects that contain the greatest levels of financial participation from nonprogram fund sources. The board shall consider twenty percent as the minimum partnership contribution, but shall also ensure that there are provisions allowing exceptions for projects that are located in areas where minimal local funding capacity exists or where the magnitude of the project makes the adopted partnership contribution financially unfeasible.
(7) The board shall develop and recommend policies that address operational improvements that primarily benefit and enhance freight movement, including, but not limited to, policies that reduce congestion in truck lanes at border crossings and weigh stations and provide for access to ports during nonpeak hours.
Findings—Intent—Part headings—Effective dates—2005 c 319:
See notes following RCW 43.17.020
(1) The freight mobility strategic investment board is created. The board shall convene by July 1, 1998.
(2) The board is composed of twelve members. The following members are appointed by the governor for terms of four years, except that five members initially are appointed for terms of two years: (a) Two members, one of whom is from a city located within or along a strategic freight corridor, appointed from a list of at least four persons nominated by the association of Washington cities or its successor; (b) two members, one of whom is from a county having a strategic freight corridor within its boundaries, appointed from a list of at least four persons nominated by the Washington state association of counties or its successor; (c) two members, one of whom is from a port district located within or along a strategic freight corridor, appointed from a list of at least four persons nominated by the Washington public ports association or its successor; (d) one member representing the office of financial management; (e) one member appointed as a representative of the trucking industry; (f) one member appointed as a representative of the railroads; (g) the secretary of the department of transportation; (h) one member representing the steamship industry; and (i) one member of the general public. In appointing the general public member, the governor shall endeavor to appoint a member with special expertise in relevant fields such as public finance, freight transportation, or public works construction. The governor shall appoint the general public member as chair of the board. In making appointments to the board, the governor shall ensure that each geographic region of the state is represented.
(3) Members of the board shall be reimbursed for reasonable and customary travel expenses as provided in RCW 43.03.050
(4) If a vacancy on the board occurs by death, resignation, or otherwise, the governor shall fill the vacant position for the unexpired term. Each vacancy in a position appointed from lists provided by the associations and departments under subsection (2) of this section must be filled from a list of at least four persons nominated by the relevant association or associations.
(5) The appointments made in subsection (2) of this section are not subject to confirmation.
Board—Administration and staffing.
The board, at its option, may either appoint an executive director, who shall serve at its pleasure and whose salary shall be set by the board or make provisions ensuring the responsibilities of the executive director are carried out by an existing transportation-related state agency or by private contract. Staff support to the board shall be provided by the department of transportation, the transportation improvement board, and the county road administration board, or their successor agencies.
Board—Standing committee—Travel reimbursement.
During the 2013-2015 fiscal biennium, members of the freight advisory committee group created as a standing committee of the board may be reimbursed for travel expenses as provided in RCW 43.03.050
Effective date—2013 c 306:
See note following RCW 47.64.170
Allocation of funds.
(1) For the purpose of allocating funds for the freight mobility strategic investment program, the board shall allocate the first fifty-five percent of funds to the highest priority projects, without regard to location.
(2) The remaining funds shall be allocated equally among three regions of the state, defined as follows:
(a) The Puget Sound region includes King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties;
(b) The western Washington region includes Clallam, Jefferson, Island, Kitsap, San Juan, Skagit, Whatcom, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Skamania, Thurston, and Wahkiakum counties; and
(c) The eastern Washington region includes Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Grant, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Whitman, Asotin, Benton, Columbia, Franklin, Garfield, Kittitas, Klickitat, Walla Walla, and Yakima counties.
(3) If a region does not have enough qualifying projects to utilize its allocation of funds, the funds will be made available to the next highest priority project, without regard to location.
(4) In the event that a proposal contains projects in more than one region, for purposes of assuring that equitable geographic distributions are made under subsection (2) of this section, the board shall evaluate the proposal and proportionally assign the benefits that are attributable to each region.
(5)(a) If the board identifies a project for funding, but later determines that the project is not ready to proceed, the board shall recommend removing the project from consideration and the next highest priority project shall be substituted in the project portfolio. Any project removed from funding consideration because it is not ready to proceed shall retain its position on the priority project list for six years.
(b) The board may remove a project from consideration after six years for any of the following reasons: (i) The project has been unable to obtain the necessary funding or financing to proceed, (ii) the project priority in the jurisdiction where the project is located has been decreased so that it is unlikely to be constructed within two years, or (iii) there are quantifiable issues that make it highly unlikely the project could obtain the necessary permits or could be constructed as submitted in the original proposal to the board.
(c) To restore any project for funding consideration after it has been removed under (b) of this subsection, the sponsoring public entity must submit a new application, which must be considered by the board in the same manner as new applicants.
Grants and loans.
In order to aid the financing of eligible freight mobility projects, the board may:
(1) Make grants or loans from funds appropriated for the freight mobility strategic investment program for the purpose of financing freight mobility projects. The board may require terms and conditions as it deems necessary or convenient to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
(2) The state shall not bear the financial burden for project costs unrelated to the movement of freight. Project amenities unrelated to the movement of freight may not be submitted to the board as part of a project proposal under the freight mobility strategic investment program.
(3) All freight mobility projects aided in whole or in part under this chapter must have a public entity designated as the lead project proponent.
The board shall keep proper records and shall be subject to audit by the state auditor.
Port district development plans.
Port districts in the state shall submit their development plans to the relevant regional transportation planning organization or metropolitan planning organization, the department, and affected cities and counties to better coordinate the development and funding of freight mobility projects.