(1) Highway authorities of the state, counties, and incorporated cities and towns, in addition to the specific powers granted in this chapter, shall also have, and may exercise, relative to limited access facilities, any and all additional authority, now or hereafter vested in them relative to highways or streets within their respective jurisdictions, and may regulate, restrict, or prohibit the use of such limited access facilities by various classes of vehicles or traffic. Such highway authorities may reserve any limited access facility or portions thereof, including designated lanes or ramps for the exclusive or preferential use of (a) public transportation vehicles, (b) privately owned buses, (c) motorcycles, (d) private motor vehicles carrying not less than a specified number of passengers, or (e) the following private transportation provider vehicles if the vehicle has the capacity to carry eight or more passengers, regardless of the number of passengers in the vehicle, and if such use does not interfere with the efficiency, reliability, and safety of public transportation operations: (i) Auto transportation company vehicles regulated under chapter 81.68
RCW; (ii) passenger charter carrier vehicles regulated under chapter 81.70
RCW, except marked or unmarked stretch limousines and stretch sport utility vehicles as defined under department of licensing rules; (iii) private nonprofit transportation provider vehicles regulated under chapter 81.66
RCW; and (iv) private employer transportation service vehicles, when such limitation will increase the efficient utilization of the highway facility or will aid in the conservation of energy resources. Regulations authorizing such exclusive or preferential use of a highway facility may be declared to be effective at all time or at specified times of day or on specified days.
(2) Any transit-only lanes that allow other vehicles to access abutting businesses that are reserved pursuant to subsection (1) of this section may not be authorized for the use of private transportation provider vehicles as described under subsection (1) of this section.
(3) Highway authorities of the state, counties, or incorporated cities and towns may prohibit the use of limited access facilities by the following private transportation provider vehicles: (a) Auto transportation company vehicles regulated under chapter 81.68
RCW; (b) passenger charter carrier vehicles regulated under chapter 81.70
RCW, and marked or unmarked limousines and stretch sport utility vehicles as defined under department of licensing rules; (c) private nonprofit transportation provider vehicles regulated under chapter 81.66
RCW; and (d) private employer transportation service vehicles, when the average transit speed in the high occupancy vehicle travel lane fails to meet department standards and falls below forty-five miles per hour at least ninety percent of the time during the peak hours for two consecutive months.
(4)(a) Local authorities are encouraged to establish a process for private transportation providers, described under subsections (1) and (3) of this section, to apply for the use of limited access facilities that are reserved for the exclusive or preferential use of public transportation vehicles.
(b) The process must provide a list of facilities that the local authority determines to be unavailable for use by the private transportation provider and must provide the criteria used to reach that determination.
(c) The application and review processes must be uniform and should provide for an expeditious response by the authority.
(5) For the purposes of this section, "private employer transportation service" means regularly scheduled, fixed-route transportation service that is similarly marked or identified to display the business name or logo on the driver and passenger sides of the vehicle, meets the annual certification requirements of the department, and is offered by an employer for the benefit of its employees.
Conflict with state and federal environmental mitigation requirements—2011 c 379:
See note following RCW 46.61.165