Transportation bill signed, governor weighs “poison pill;” whatever he decides, celebrate the $16 billion transportation package

With the transportation bill signed and the long legislative session behind us, Gov. Jay Inslee is weighing his options with respect to low carbon fuel standards. The bill signed by the governor includes what some called a “poison pill.” As the Seattle Times reports, he objected to the provision, which would take money away from transit projects if he implemented a low carbon fuel standard by executive order.

Signing the transportation package in a ceremony Wednesday afternoon, Inslee noted his opposition to the clean-fuels language, but said he was opting to sign the bills “for the greater good of our state.”

Now,

Despite the poison-pill regulation, Inslee’s office has signaled he is still considering moving ahead on a low-carbon fuel standard. While that would trigger a shift in transit money, Inslee and his allies could gamble on a fight to restore the funding in a subsequent legislative session.

More.

The governor did have meetings over the past couple of days to talk about this with stakeholders,” Inslee press aide David Postman said Saturday afternoon, confirming rumors which have been flying fiercely around Olympia in recent days…

Postman noted that the transportation alternatives money, which comes from licensing and vehicle weight fees, would not automatically shift to highways.

“The poison pill would require multi-modal funds to be transferred to the Connecting Washington account if the administration moved ahead with a clean fuel standard. From there, it would have to be reappropriated by the Legislature. It doesn’t automatically go to road projects.”

At Cascadia Planet climate activist Patrick Mazza concludes he’ll do it.

I’ve known Inslee for a number of years.  Based on that my gut says he is preparing to pull the trigger to implement Clean Fuels.

Seattle Transit has more, noting that Sound Transit 3 is not affected by the poison pill.

Washington Bikes urges the governor not to swallow the pill.

While there’s a lot of fussing about “will he or won’t he” with environmentalists apparently on both sides of the “should he or shouldn’t he” question, the important thing to remember is this: The Legislature passed a vital transportation package – $16 billion over 16 years – and the governor played a key role in getting the bill passed by accepting the poison pill.

What he does with the pill now should not alter anyone’s positive assessment of the transportation package. It was – and is – a win for all of us.