OLYMPIA – A bill to create more opportunity for housing near transit centers passed the Senate on a bipartisan 40-8 vote today.
Senate Bill 5466, sponsored by Sen. Marko Liias (D-Everett), provides development targets near light rail and bus rapid transit stations and gives local jurisdictions flexible tools to meet these targets in ways that reflect the unique characteristics of their communities.
Washington is currently facing a massive housing shortage, and the Urban Institute predicts that the approach in this legislation will create nearly one million new housing units close to frequent transit services.
SB 5466 works in tandem with other legislation to increase housing opportunities across the state, such as efforts to diversify housing supply through changes to current zoning laws.
“As we continue to invest in transportation services across the state, it’s important that more of our neighbors are connected to the routes that will make their commutes easier,” said Liias. “By building more housing near transit centers, we can shorten commute times, decrease carbon emissions, increase housing supply, and create more opportunity for communities statewide.”
The Move Ahead Washington transportation package passed last session invested $3 billion in public transportation – the largest investment in state history. Increasing housing opportunities will further leverage this funding by ensuring more Washingtonians can access public transportation.
“Our state and region are investing billions in mass transit infrastructure so it makes sense that our land use and planning would encourage housing to be located near those transit stations to maximize taxpayer dollars,” said Bothell Mayor Mason Thompson. “Bothell supports transit-oriented development, and we are happy to work with Sen. Liias and his colleagues to ensure this bill achieves the objectives of targeting growth near transit, while also advancing collective climate goals.”
The approach represented by the bill has garnered support from Republicans and Democrats alike throughout the legislative session. It will now move to the House for consideration.