On April 5 Senator Steve Hobbs released “Forward Washington,” a proposal that outlines $17 billion in investments over 16 years. The new proposal brings the Senate one step closer to aligning with the House’s recent proposal around the size and scope of new transportation investments.
However, the process has taken longer than expected, and we are still awaiting policy details. We want to see new investments move forward, but it has to be the right package, one that will advance our vision of a Clean and Just transportation system; and it’s difficult to fully comprehend without legislation before us. We are doing our best to analyze these proposals based on the balance sheet and project lists. Are there restrictions? Where exactly does revenue flow? What additional policy goals or requirements will be implemented if any?
Despite our outstanding questions, we see clear gaps in investment in major priority areas, and close to $11 billion in the highway bucket (including both new projects, and maintenance). We need Senators to rally and ensure their bills:
- Increase funding for mobility and access
- Match the House proposal of at least $3 billion in transit funding; include funding for a baseline level of transit service/operations
- Match the House proposal of at least $1 billion for safe walking and biking
- Ensure investments reach impacted communities
- Add the Connecting Communities grant funding included by the House
- Include policy requirements and funds for community engagement that prioritize impacted communities
- Move the dial on clean transportation
- Match the $200 million in Green Transit grants in the House
- Prioritize heavy duty electrification and low-income programs
- Prioritize road maintenance over adding new highway capacity
- Provide for a performance evaluation framework for highway projects to meet the transportation policy goals
- Implement progressive revenue streams
- Reinstate the Air Quality Surcharge
- Ensure carbon pricing revenues are invested in carbon reduction strategies
- Help plan for the future
- Fund plans for Ultra High Speed Rail and the I-5 corridor
- Maintain proposed clean and just elements, including:
- Funding for transportation demand management
- Stormwater retrofits and inclusions
- Foster care and at-risk youth access to driver licenses/Identicards
- Funding for holistic corridor planning for WSDOT
As the Senate works to turn its proposals into legislation, we must speak up and demand changes that will help turn the ship toward a clean and just future. We know the needs are immense, but we need the right package of investments to meet them.
Don’t let this moment pass: Ask Senators to make these changes right away.