Washington Bikes Remains Committed to Developing a Balanced Transportation Package

After a months-long process of hard work and perseverance by a diverse group of transportation stakeholders, the House of Representative’s transportation package proposal was defeated today on a vote of 48-42. The bill received a majority vote but did not reach the constitutionally required number of votes for passage.

We remain hopeful that the House will remove for reconsideration. We want to thank Governor Inslee and Representatives Marko Liias, Jessyn Farrell, Joe Fitzgibbon, and Cyrus Habib in particular for their leadership in developing a package that would invest in a transportation system that meets the growing needs of our cities, towns, and most importantly safety for Washington’s kids. We also appreciate that Rep. Clibborn was willing to work with them to make the improvements that were needed to plan for our transportation future.

The proposed package took important steps in recognizing that investments in walking and biking provide cost-effective and common sense solutions to congestion, improving safety for people who drive, walk, bike, and take transit.

I have to point out that at $323 million for biking and walking projects in the proposed package, the state of Washington would have invested $3.90 per Washingtonian per year on bike/walk infrastructure for safer streets and greater connectivity—less than a typical 16-ounce drink at Starbucks and right around the cost of one gallon of gas.

Bicycling is here to stay. We call on the state legislature to craft a transportation package that looks forward—not one that keeps us looking in the rearview mirror. Investments in biking and walking infrastructure make streets safer for drivers too, while providing a healthy workforce and children who are ready to concentrate and learn when they get to school. Everyone benefits.

Employers like Amazon.com and commercial real estate developers are now investing in bicycling because workers demand it. Recently I was astonished to hear someone say that Microsoft had around 10,000 bike commuters working for them. As I heard on a trip to meet with Pullman in April, Washington State University hears from its incoming freshmen that they want bike racks, not parking spots, and use of their bikeshare system has more than tripled since it was introduced in 2011. Chambers of commerce and destination marketing organizations across the state are working to develop bicycle tourism – in Oregon a $400 million-a-year industry according to a recently released Travel Oregon study. Bike projects also have been demonstrated to create more jobs per dollar spent than large road-building projects because they require less material for the labor expended.

Among the many priority projects included in the proposed package:

  • Safety improvements to E Marginal Way in Seattle at the location where Expediters International employee Lance David died May 1, at the start of National Bicycle Month
  • Completion of missing links to the SR 520 Bridge on the east side of Lake Washington, as well as the Burke Gilman Trail in Seattle
  • Investments in trail facilities across the state including gaps in Spokane Valley’s Appleway Trail and the Spokane River Centennial Trail
  • Funding for Port Orchard’s downtown revitalization and mobility project, the Bay Street Trail
  • Cycle track investments in Seattle’s central business district and along Westlake Avenue
  • Potentially hundreds of sidewalks to enable kids to walk to schools statewide

If this ultimately doesn’t pass, every community in the state will lose out on the chance to make their streets more inviting, increase their real estate values and thus their local government revenues, make their school zones safer, and support the local businesses that benefit from increased commercial activity when people can walk or bike in a welcoming environment. That’s the real bottom line for the taxpayers.

Want to express an opinion to your state legislators?

Tell them you support the biking and walking investments included in ESHB 1954.

By phone: Call 1-800-562-6000. The operator will route your message to your legislators. Your message: I SUPPORT funding biking and walking at the levels in the House transportation revenue package.

By email: Enter your mailing address on the district finder form (choose Legislative, not Congressional) and follow the instructions on the site to reach a contact form for your legislators.

Points you can include in your email:

  • I support the House Transportation Package in ESHB 1954, specifically the safety investments for kids, bicycling, walking, and safer streets across Washington.
  • These are cost-effective investments that attract employers and tourists and reduce congestion on Washington’s roadways.
  • The total per year in the package for biking/walking projects is only $3.90 per Washingtonian—a small investment with big returns.
  • Your support for a revenue package that retains the walking and biking project investments currently included in the House proposal is necessary for me to support such a package.
  • We need transportation investments that represent our values and share our priorities. Washington only works when all people have an equal opportunity to get where we need to go.
  • Please support a transportation revenue proposal that fixes our transportation crises – fix our crumbling roads & bridges, keep our buses moving, make our streets safer and cleaner. You can and must act to keep our economy moving and me and my neighbors safe.
  • Thank you for your support and for supporting a transportation system that works for all Washingtonians.
This article was posted in Advocacy, Alert, Funding/Policy, Issues & Advocacy, Legislature, News. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are closed.