Thank you very much for holding a public hearing on HB 2716 concerning transportation network companies (TNCs) and for scheduling the bill for executive action.
The ACES NW Network, Greater Issaquah Chamber and East King County Chambers of Commerce Legislative Coalition all write in strong support of this important legislation. We find that our entire transportation network, from highways of statewide significance to local arterials, is increasingly congested, and the distinction between peak and off-peak periods is rapidly diminishing.
Not surprisingly, business leaders all over the Eastside once again confirmed that, aside from affordable housing, the daily congestion penalty is the single greatest barrier they face in attracting and retaining talent in a tight labor market.
Consequently, finding and implementing innovative transportation solutions, especially those which utilize emerging technologies, is a matter of great urgency. However, the marketplace often leads the way and the public sector can be slow to respond, especially when it comes to reducing regulatory barriers.
That’s why our top legislative priority this year is to begin work on a legal and policy framework in support of innovative mobility solutions, including flexible and electric van pools, private employer shuttles and transportation network companies.
Similarly, whether we’re ready or not, transportation is evolving from a personal capital investment to a service that will be consumed on-demand using a mobile platform. TNCs will help us solve the first mile/last mile problem, providing connectivity from low- and high-density residential areas alike, to mobility hubs such as park and ride lots and rail stations or directly to employment centers. Let’s unleash the power of the market place to provide real mobility choices and begin chipping away at congestion on highways and local arterials. We’re confident that the Legislature, in its wisdom, will be able to address any presently unresolved issues relating to transportation network companies, including but not limited to, compliance with the federal Americans with Disability Act (ADA), the best manner by which to conduct criminal background checks, and the degree of partial state preemption to be codified.
After several years of deliberation on this subject, it is time to move forward. Please report out HB 2716 and pass it on to the Floor for final adoption.