State of Washington

Washington State faces an even greater challenge than California, with the transportation sector contributing 47 percent of the total GHG inventory.  In 2008, House Bill 2815 established GHG emissions and VMT reductions – including goals for GHG emissions reduction to 1990 levels by 2020; 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2035; and 50 percent below 1990 levels by year 2050.  HB 2815 also called for an 18 percent VMT per capita reduction below business–as-usual projections for 2020 (75 billion total VMT); 30 percent by 2035; and 50 percent by 2050.  The law places implementation responsibility for GHG reduction on the Department of Ecology (DOE) with partner agencies including the Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the Department of Commerce (DOC), while WSDOT was directed to oversee the VMT reduction targets in coordination with Washington’s MPOs, and in partnership with DOE and DOC.

The following year, the Governor’s Executive Order (EO) 09-05 directed WSDOT to work with the four largest Regional Transportation Planning Organizations and MPOs to “develop and adopt regional transportation plans that will, when implemented…reduce GHGs and achieve statutory benchmarks to reduce annual per capita VMT.”  In addition to the inclusion of VMT per capita reduction targets for light duty vehicles, Executive Order 09-05 Section 2 requires WSDOT to work with Spokane Regional Transportation Council, Thurston Regional Planning Council, Puget Sound Regional Council, Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council to cooperatively develop and adopt regional transportation plans that will provide people with additional transportation alternatives and choices, reduce GHG emissions, and achieve the statutory benchmarks to reduce annual per capita VMT in those counties with populations greater than 245,000.  By December 01 2011, WSDOT will report to the Governor on which regional transportation planning organizations have developed, or are developing, plans with GHG strategies; which strategies appear to have the greatest potential to achieve the benchmarks; and what policy or funding issues need to be resolved to ensure implementation.


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