Washington Bikes’ 2020 Lobby Day was a huge success for people who bike!

Advocates for better biking converged on the State Capitol in Olympia in January to engage their elected officials  and request support for legislation and funding for safe spaces to walk and bike across Washington. Read on to learn more about Lobby Day, and get involved with our 2020 priorities.


Lobby Day 2020 took place during a fast-paced 60-day legislative session in Olympia. Washington Bikes’ advocates met with more than 30 legislators from districts in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties.

Participants in Washington Bikes' 2020 Lobby Day stand on the capitol steps in Olympia.

Community members spoke with leaders about the importance of investments in active transportation projects, advocated for the “Safety Stop” (a potential new law similar to the “Idaho Stop” to keep people on bikes safer at stop signs), and urged passage of a bill  to include health as a goal in transportation investments. 

Participants got to see the legislative process in action when, in the midst of Lobby Day, the Safety Stop bill went to the House transportation committee. Lobby Day participants had the exciting opportunity to sign on in support of the bill and watch committee proceedings. The Safety Stop bill, which allows people on bikes to treat stop signs as a yield sign, is priority legislation for Washington Bikes because it has been shown to sharply reduce injuries.

We are looking forward to finishing out the 2020 legislative session strong, and continuing to advocate for people who bike — or want to — throughout the year!

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Featured on KUOW: Drivers have to give cyclists more room

Excerpt’s from Vicky Clarke’s Jan. 2 interview:

This morning, KUOW aired a radio interview between Casey Martin and Washington Bikes Policy Director Vicky Clarke about the new safe passing law, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Here are excerpts from the interview:

Starting this year, the state is telling drivers if there is more than one lane going your direction, you must get into the left lane when passing a bicyclist, just like you do when passing slower cars.

“The difference between a safe pass with someone slowing and passing at a distance and an unsafe pass is quite literally the difference between life and death,” said Vicky Clarke.

Vicky Clarke is with the advocacy group Washington Bikes. 

If there is only one lane going your way and there is no bike lane, the state says you must slow down and leave at least 3 feet of space between your car and the cyclist. This also applies when passing tractors and people on horseback. If you have trouble guessing how much 3 feet is, Vicky Clarke says “move over. When you see someone on a bike, just move over.”

You can listen to the interview streaming throughout the day on kuow.org.

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The Top 2019 Wins for Bikes

As the year nears its end, we wanted to celebrate some of the great successes for bikes in 2019. Here’s to riding into a future that is even brighter for 2020!

  1. Washington is the #1 bike friendly state for 11 years running!

Bicyclist on a trail in Washington

The League of American Bicyclists has released their ranking of bike friendly states, and for the 11th year in a row, Washington clinched the top spot. With improvements to safe passing laws, statewide Active Transportation plans, and investments in safe and accessible infrastructure, we are working to ensure that Washington remains the best place for people who bike!

2. The East Lake Sammamish Trail is finalized after decades of advocacy

Bikes and families sharin the East Lake Sammamish Trail

After decades of advocacy, the East Lake Sammamish Trail is being completed! For people who walk, bike, and roll, the completed East Lake Sammamish Trail provides a safe and connected path through the East Side, and marks the realization of a 20 year vision.

3. Our c3 affiliate Cascade Bicycle Club hosted the largest cycling event in the nation.

People on bikes ride across the now-defunct SR 99 tunnel with the Seattle Ferris Wheel in the background

In February 2019, Cascade hosted the largest cycling event in the nation, with 12,095 riders participating in the one time Tunnel Ride. This ride was the first chance for folks to ride the new SR99 Tunnel and the last chance to ride the Alaskan Way Viaduct!

4. Seattle’s Fremont bridge zooms past 1 million bike trips

A woman rides across the Fremont Bridge

This year, the Fremont bridge saw the highest yearly bike ridership count ever! Over a million people biked over the Fremont Bridge before Halloween, and the numbers have steadily grown since. This new record points to a larger trend in Seattle – there are consistently more people on bikes!

5. Historic investment in trails: $810 million over the next 6 years.

Girl and mom biking on a trail during the fall

This election cycle, a supermajority of voters in King County approved a milestone funding package for trails. This funding will go towards trail connections on the Eastrail, Lake to Sound Trail, and local connectors across the county!

6. New Safe Passing Law to keep people on bikes safer

Safe Passing Law Illustration - give 3 feet or a full lane to pass a vulnerable road user

During the 2019 legislative session, Washington Bikes led the effort to pass legislation protecting the rights of people biking, walking, and rolling throughout the state. This resulted in the passage of the Vulnerable user/Safe passing legislation! This bill passed with bipartisan support, and increased protections for people who are vulnerable on the roadway.

7. Seattle City Council funds $10 million in SE Seattle bike infrastructure and makes huge advances in the Basic Bike Network

Left: People riding and celebrating the new section of Seattle's basic bike network. Right: The South Sector Project Map

Left: People riding and celebrating the new section of Seattle’s Basic Bike Network. Right: The South Sector Project Map

Earlier this year, advocates in Seattle made a stand to reinstate Southeast Seattle plans for bike infrastructure. Because of advocates’ tireless efforts, during the 2019 budget session Seattle City Council set aside $10 million for a bike connection to Southeast Seattle. Advocates also ensured that SDOT expedited construction of vital downtown routes, connecting the area by bike and providing a center for larger Connect Seattle goals.

8. Seattle speed limits lower to 25 mph to advance Vision Zero goals

A graphic showing that 9 out of 10 people will survive a collision with a car going 20mph, while only two out of 10 people will survive a collission with a car going 40mph

Image courtesy of San Francisco MTA Vision Zero Action Plan, February 2015

In keeping with a public commitment to reduce traffic deaths in the city, Seattle is lowering the speed limits on all city streets to 25 mph. This change comes from data that suggests that on roads where speeds dropped to 25 mph, there was a 35% reduction in crashes. This is a crucial step in Seattle achieving its Vision Zero goals.

9. Eighteen communities across Washington renew or update their Bike Friendly status

Bicycle Friendly America logo

From Spokane to Port Angeles to Ellensburg, communities across Washington continued to prove their commitment to making life better for people who bike. In 2019 these bike friendly communities implemented bike infrastructure, Vision Zero policies, and public education to make biking safer, more accessible, and more fun to people across the state!

10. Funding for the Beverly Bridge connects Washington by bike

Photo of the Beverly Bridge on the Palouse to Cascades Trail

In April, the Washington State legislature approved funding to repair the Beverly Bridge. The previously closed bridge, which spans the Columbia River is a crucial link between the western half of the Palouse to Cascades Trail to the eastern half. Repairing this bridge allows trail users across Washington state to access the region by bike, and reinstates a historic connection.

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Introducing Washington Bikes’ 2020 State Legislative Agenda

The upcoming 2020 Washington state legislative session will be 60 fast and furious days short. Washington Bikes has a full legislative agenda, addressing top issues to make communities across the state safe and accessible by bike. Read on and save the date now for our 2020 Bike Lobby Day (Jan. 22) to help ensure our state legislators follow through on maintaining funding levels and passing laws that matter for people who bike.

Washington Bikes Legislative Agenda:

#1: Investments: Short Session, Mammoth Funding Issues to Address

Washington Bikes will be working to protect critical funding for essential bike and pedestrian safety projects now at risk due to the passage of I-976. Typically, the “short”, 60 day session – the second year of a biennium budget – would be focused on fixing adjustments or errors made during the previous big budget year. But, due to the passage of I-976 on the November ballot, Washington is facing dramatic uncertainties in funding for our statewide transportation system. The state’s approach to filling the funding shortfall created by I-976 is still in flux, but one thing is clear: I-976 will require state legislators to make hard decisions this session in order to cover an anticipated and significant hole in the multimodal transportation account.

The multimodal transportation account dedicates funds for transportation including rail, ferries, transit, biking and walking. It’s the primary state funding source for biking and walking investments and contains projects funded through the 2015 Connecting Washington transportation package, which allocated historic levels of funding for bike and pedestrian infrastructure, as well as Safe Route To School, Bike and Pedestrian grant programs, and the Bike and Pedestrian project list.

#2: Policy: A New Law to Keep People on Bikes Safer – The Safety Stop

Washington Bikes will lead efforts on new legislation to make a simple, intuitive change that will give people on bikes the right to treat a stop sign as a yield. “The Safety Stop” is sometimes described as a rolling stop or the Idaho Stop. The Safety Stop increases safety at intersections by allowing a person bicycling to avoid waiting in the blind spot of a motor vehicle and to get out ahead of following motor vehicles, creating space and less likelihood for interaction between them. Similar legislation has passed in Idaho, Delaware, Arkansas and most recently Oregon. Senator Andy Billig (6th LD, Spokane) and Representative Joe Fitzgibbon (34th LD, Burien) are the prime sponsors in the Senate and House. We’ll be sure to keep you updated as the bill is introduced and moves through the legislative process.

#3: Policy: Health as a Goal in Transportation Investments

This session Washington Bikes will support legislation to include the concept of “health” in the state transportation system policy goals. This effort will ensure WSDOT considers health outcomes in future transportation investments. We know that when people have the opportunity to bike to school or roll to the grocery store, it’s a boon for their health and the cumulative health of their community. Currently, 29 percent of adults and 12 percent of our 10th graders are obese, with significantly higher rates in populations with lower income and lower education. People who are active are more likely to maintain a healthy weight and less likely to develop chronic diseases.

Add Your Voice on Bike Lobby Day

We need your help to advance our 2020 legislative agenda! Wednesday, January 22 is Washington Bikes’ Lobby Day at the state Capitol in Olympia. Together we’ll let our state officials know why safe, healthy communities connected by bike matter. Join us for a fun, impactful day to ensure that your state legislators hear from you regarding critical issues like the funding crisis I-976 has created, and about how active transportation must be prioritized as budget cuts or project delays are considered. RSVP here to get updates ahead of Lobby Day and stay in the loop on what to expect.

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Election Day delivered mixed news for people who bike, walk, and roll

While voters approved Tim Eyman’s I-976 initiative, the majority of Washington Bikes’ endorsed candidates won their race, which means we have bike champions across the state who we are counting on to defend bike and pedestrian funding.

Bike friendly leaders across the state

This year, Washington Bikes endorsed its most robust slate of candidates to date throughout Washington state. We are pleased to report that the majority of Washington Bikes’ endorsed candidates are winning their races, with a couple too close to call ahead of the official certification, December 5th. Candidates names in bold are currently winning their races.




Washington Bikes looks forward to working with the newly elected and re-elected bike-friendly leaders and also thanks all endorsed candidates who ran for office, and articulated the importance of bike-friendly communities in their campaigns.

Future of funding for bike/ped projects at grave risk

Election day results delivered a huge blow to our vision of bike-friendly communities across the state. Voters approved Tim Eyman’s I-976 initiative, which promised dramatic cuts to vehicle licensing fees. In turn, this result means vastly reduced funding for transportation projects delivered by both the state DOT and local communities statewide. It’s clear the consequences will be far-reaching and include funding for bike and pedestrian projects. 

The state funds projects, big and small, to make biking and walking safer and more accessible all across the state through the Safe Routes to School and bike/ped grants in the state transportation budget. The historic Connecting Washington 2015 funding package also funded many important projects to connect communities by bike and keep us, our kids and our neighbors safe. Many of those important projects are now at risk.

We will share more information as we learn about the impacts of I-976. Here’s what’s clear: We will need you to help us protect the essential bike and pedestrian funding investments that our Washington leaders committed to, in order to make our communities safe. One place you can help advocate on behalf of bicycle funding at the state level will be Washington Bikes’ Lobby Day in Olympia during the 2020 legislative session. Save the date for January 22!

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Washington remains the #1 bike-friendly state in the country

Washington Bikes is happy to report that Washington remains the #1 bike friendly state in the nation — for the 11th year running!

The league of American Bicyclists conducts the Bicycle Friendly State program and ranking, based on the following: “The Bicycle Friendly State program is structured around a ranking of all 50 states based upon publicly available data and a survey completed by state Departments of Transportation and/or state bicycle advocacy organizations. This data is used to rank and create a report card for each state. Our last ranking was completed in 2019.”

The League of American Bicyclists has identified five bicycle friendly actions as part of the Bicycle Friendly State program, and as of this year Washington state checks the boxes on all five!

  • Complete streets law/policy
  • Safe passing law (3 feet+)
  • Bicycle safety as an emphasis area in the state’s highway safety plan
  • Statewide bike plan adopted within the last 10 years
  • 2% or more federal transportation funds spent on bike/ped

Safe Passing Law rounds out bike friendly policies

In the 2019 legislative session, Washington Bikes led efforts to pass an updated Safe Passing law, completing the fifth bicycle friendly action for the state. Read more about the updated safe passing law here.

WSDOT’s Active Transportation Division (Washington was the first state DOT in the nation to create an Active Transportation Division) is currently updating the statewide Active Transportation Plan — another marker of a state that knows that people on bikes matter.

While we are thrilled to be in the #1 spot, Washington Bikes knows there is much work ahead to create bike-friendly communities across Washington state.

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Washington Bikes Endorsements: Bike-Friendly Leaders for Seattle

This November, let’s elect these bike champions to keep Seattle on a course for ensuring people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, can get around safely and comfortably by bike. Read on about what’s at stake in Seattle this election cycle.

Alki Beach PBL

Washington Bikes 2019 Seattle Endorsements:

All seven of Seattle City Council’s district seats are up for election this November, and in four districts the sitting councilmember is not seeking reelection. So, come January one thing is assured: change.

The next cohort of council members will meaningfully shape the future of transportation in the region’s fastest growing city. Seattle is at a critical juncture to catch up to its peers – including Vancouver, BC, Minneapolis, and Washington, DC – who are setting the course to shift their transportation systems toward a future that is healthier, more economically competitive, and safer. As we reach the midpoint of the Move Seattle Levy, and with Light Rail expanding to Northgate by 2021 and the future Ballard to West Seattle line in planning, the time is now to propel Seattle forward by realizing a citywide vision of connected bikeways.

Over the next four years, Seattle City Council will be charged with making policy and budget decisions large and small that will impact how safe and accessible it is to bike in Seattle. Seattle’s council must ensure implementation of an aggressive but realistic plan to Connect Seattle by bike – with a minimum-grid bike network, citywide, by 2021. Looking farther out, Seattle will revisit it’s 2014 Bicycle Master Plan during the lifetime of this new council. Council must adopt a new plan that fleshes out the next phase of building out Seattle’s bike network so that all Seattlelites, regardless of age, language, ethnicity, gender, race, and ability, have the option to get where they need to go by bike.

The Levy to Move Seattle is the primary funding source for building Seattle’s bike network. As we reach the midpoint of the levy, passed in 2015, Council must maintain accountability, and ensure voter commitments are kept. The levy will conclude in its ninth year during this new Council’s term. As such, Council will influence the future of our streets and roadways; whatever follows must direct resources towards people-focused transportation, including a connected network of trails and bikeways, citywide.

Lisa Herbold, City Council Position 1
On Council, Lisa Herbold has demonstrated leadership on active transportation issues. Herbold has helped hold the city accountable to following through on key transportation projects in her district – including the Georgetown to Southpark trail and retaining bike improvements within the Delridge Rapid Ride project. In her response to our questionnaire, Herbold adds that in order to fund planned bike routes, money from traffic cameras and new revenue sources must be dedicated specifically to bike projects.

Tammy Morales, City Council Position 2
During her campaign, Tammy Morales has been vocal in her support of making biking safer and more accessible, with a focus on racial equity in biking. Morales is motivated to address the reality that south Seattle currently has no direct bike route to downtown, and that fatalities for people on bikes is disproportionately larger in the south end. Morales highlights that her priorities will be to invest in the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan, and make our neighborhoods more bicycle friendly for kids.

Kshama Sawant, City Council Position 3
As a member of the Council Transportation and Sustainability Committee, Kshama Sawant’s voting record and policy input reflect her understanding of how biking is a part of the solution to transportation, affordability and social justice challenges facing Seattle today. In responses to our questionnaire, Sawant highlights that safety is an important component of creating a connected network of bicycle lanes, and dedicating funding to bike lanes is an important investment.

Shaun Scott, City Council Position 4
Advocating for a Green New Deal for Seattle, with opportunities to get around sustainably and affordably, is a core campaign theme for Shaun Scott. From Scott, we heard that he hopes, “to propose and oversee investment in sidewalks, bikeways, and trails with an equity-based lens, as they are a critical component to promoting public health, enabling movement for families with strollers and folks in wheelchairs, and making first/last mile transportation options like biking for working people and young folks safer and more accessible.”

Andrew Lewis, City Council Position 7
Andrew Lewis understands that when we build a connected network of protected bikeways, more people – and more types of people – will choose to bike. In response to our questionnaire, Lewis notes that the City needs to prioritize providing safe bike routes to, and around schools. Andrew also says he will emphasize pedestrian and bike improvements whenever the City takes up a major infrastructure project. In District 7, he highlights that the Magnolia Bridge replacement should be a multi-modal project instead of a one-for-one copy of the previous bridge. Additionally, he says that bike and pedestrian infrastructure will play a vital role in providing east-west connections around the Seattle Center in the redesign of Key Arena.

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Washington Bikes Endorsements: Bike-Friendly Leaders for East King County

On November 5, let’s elect these bike champions to keep the Eastside on course to build a healthier, more economically competitive and safer transportation system.


Photo courtesy of John Tiscornia Photography

Read below about what’s at stake in East King County this election.

Washington Bikes 2019 Eastside Endorsements:

King County’s Eastside is squarely part of the fastest-growing region in the US. Facing projections for regional population growth of 1.8 million people in the next 30 years and the reality of denser communities, Eastside cities must evolve their transportation systems. A future that is healthier, more economically competitive, and safer is within reach by centering active transportation. 

Changes are already underway: King County Parks is gaining momentum to connect the trails network thanks to supermajority voter approval of the August 2019 levy; Light Rail will connect through Bellevue to Redmond by 2023. The time is now to propel the Eastside forward by realizing a region-wide network for active transportation.

With the Eastside’s challenges and opportunities in mind, candidates endorsed by Washington Bikes expressed support for completing trails networks, building safer streets, keeping funding commitments to bike routes in progress, and safe biking and walking to transit.

Completing Trails Networks

As new trails like the Eastrail (formerly Eastside Rail Corridor) open to the public, we need champions who will realize the vision for a seamless trails network to knit together Eastside communities. Washington Bikes has identified champions who support completing trails through their communities. For example, in Sammamish, support for completing the East Lake Sammamish Trail matters now more than ever, and we’re confident the three Washington Bikes-endorsed candidates will see the East Lake Sammamish Trail across the finish line.

Safe Streets via Urban Bike Networks

While East King County has an abundant – and growing – trails network, many communities still lack safe on-street bike networks to get to work, transit, or to run errands by bike. By electing bike champions on the Eastside this November, we anticipate progress toward building much-needed urban bike networks and last-mile connections. For example, Bellevue installed its first downtown protected bike lane in 2018. Now, ongoing support from elected leaders is needed to ensure the much-needed and anticipated network of safe, simple, and protected bikeways can expand.

Keeping Funding Commitments

In 2016, residents in both Bellevue and Kenmore approved tax measures that included funding for safe places to bike. We need elected representatives who’ll make sure sufficient percentages from these new funding sources go to projects that will truly make cities like Bellevue and Kenmore walkable and bikeable, and work to renew vital funding for active transportation. In Bellevue, this means electing leaders who keep voter commitments to dedicate funding towards building the Bellevue bike network by 2023.

Safe Biking and Walking to Transit

Biking, walking, and rolling are healthy and affordable ways to get to transit – but only if transit hubs and station areas are accessible on foot and by bike. With East Link Light Rail stations opening in Mercer Island, Bellevue, and Redmond in just a few short years, elected leaders who will champion walk- and bike-ability are essential to ensure first/last mile connections are ready on day one.

Every Eastside Community Counts

In each one of the Eastside communities where we’ve endorsed, there are important funding and policy decisions coming up that can make for safer, connected communities by bike. There’s work to do to make streets around schools safer for children, for investments in recreational places for biking and for connected on-street bike networks. It all starts with electing bike-friendly leaders.

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Washington Bikes & Votes: Vote for these bike-friendly candidates and ballot measures by November 5!

Washington Bikes announces 2019 general election endorsements

Washington Bikes is proud to announce its largest number of endorsed candidates ever. 

Our criteria: Washington Bikes endorsed legislators who led or partnered on efforts to create safer streets, increase accessibility to trails, improve healthy communities and health outcomes, and contribute to the economic vitality of Washington’s communities. Additionally, Washington Bikes has endorsed first time candidates who share our vision for lowering the barriers to bicycling for all ages and abilities.

Washington Bikes works to secure funding for bicycle infrastructure and policies that increase access and safety. To make that happen, it matters who Washington’s elected leaders are and that’s why Washington Bikes spends time connecting with candidates and making endorsements.

We’d like to thank all of the candidates, endorsed or otherwise, for taking the time to participate in Washington Bikes’ endorsement process.

Additionally, Washington Bikes has endorsed the No on I-976 campaign. This effort is working to stop Tim Eyman’s I-976 from cutting billions in state and local funding for bike/ped projects, bridge upgrades, transit, and pothole fixes. We’re recommending you vote NO on I-976 to ensure already oversubscribed programs like Safe Routes to Schools and the Statewide bicycle and pedestrian grant program aren’t decimated. If I-976 passes, Washington will lose $4 billion in revenue for transportation improvements in every community, from Everett to Kennewick, and Westport to Colfax – and all stops between. 

The Washington Bikes endorsement speaks to thousands of engaged Washingtonians statewide who care about a range of issues. From wanting more connected trails, to safer neighborhood streets, to more opportunities for physical activity, Washingtonians are looking for leaders and policies that will advance these priorities. Please use our cheat sheet and share it widely with friends and coworkers who support safe, protected biking! 



With less than six weeks until Election Day, we are in the final stretch! Are you ready to vote? Register if you are new to WA or have recently moved through the Washington Secretary of State’s office. If not, you have until eight days ahead of Election Day to register online or by mail. As of July 2019, you can also register in person until the close of business hours on Election Day! 

Curious what will appear on your November ballot? Check out your sample ballot at Ballotpedia. Lastly, Washington is a vote-by-mail state, so expect your ballot in the mail in roughly two weeks.

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Critical Funding for Safer Streets is on the Line – All Across Washington State

This November, Voter Initiative-976 means essential state funding for biking and walking is on the chopping block. Vote no to preserve critical dollars to keep our state moving.

We’re recommending you vote NO on I-976 to ensure already underfunded programs like Safe Routes to Schools and the statewide bicycle and pedestrian grant  program aren’t decimated. If I-976 passes, Washington will lose $4 billion in revenue for transportation improvements in every community, from Everett to Kennewick, and Westport to Colfax – and all stops between.

Pledge to vote NO

Washington Bikes and our affiliate, Cascade Bicycle Club, have endorsed the No on 976 campaign because of the unprecedented risk it poses to our state’s ability to maintain and evolve our transportation system so it’s safe and reliable for all of us, regardless of how we get around.

What’s I-976?

I-976 is the latest initiative from anti-tax activist Tim Eyman, which would limit all car tabs in the state to $30, as well as reduce other vehicle fees. While that may sound appealing to folks who bike for the majority of their transportation, what’s at stake for bike, pedestrian, and transit funding is huge. If I-976 were to pass, there is potential that we could see a $4 billion cut to bike and pedestrian projects, including cuts to sidewalks, bike lanes, and neighborhood greenways around schools. Funding to teach students how to ride, the rules of the road, and how to stay safe while biking and walking is also on the line.

Among other devastating impacts, I-976 will cut $2.3 billion in local transportation funding for cities across the state, from Spokane to Seattle, Bellingham to Vancouver, and everything in between. This could impact everything from pothole repairs to yellow lights in school zones to future bike lanes and local transit service. And we’re not even going to get into the serious cuts to light rail, the ferry system, Amtrak trains, or other multi-modal transit projects.

Don’t be fooled by the allure of a tax cut to car tabs. The impacts to people who walk, bike, roll, train, and bus on our streets will be tremendous, and all of us will face more dangerous roads, more traffic, worse pollution, and fewer jobs. Pledge to vote NO on I-976 and Keep Washington Rolling.


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