With the federal bipartisan infrastructure bill expected now signed into law, we have good reason to celebrate. Thank you to our Congressional delegation who fought to secure the critical funding needed to improve public transit, repair bridges, accelerate transportation electrification, and bring broadband to all.
Under the $1.2 trillion dollar Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), Washington is set to receive an estimated $8.6 billion, including $1.79 billion for public transit. That’s a major new set of investments to help us achieve Washington’s transportation goals! As Peter Rogoff, CEO of Sound Transit, states in The Seattle Times: “We view it as a game changer.”
Over the next five years, Washington is anticipated to receive:
- $1.79 billion for public transportation
- $4.7 billion for highways
- $605 million for bridge replacement and repairs
- $71 million to support electric vehicle infrastructure
- $100 million to help provide broadband coverage
- $882 million to improve drinking water infrastructure and safety
- $385 million for the state’s airports, including $228 million for Sea-Tac International Airport and $16 million for Paine Field in Snohomish County
- New competitive grant programs that will offer project sponsors additional funding opportunities
Although the bill is historic in scope, and a win worth celebrating, it falls short of Biden’s original vision to “dramatically reduce the climate impacts of transportation, the single largest source of pollution.” The IIJA needs the complementary Build Back Better Act (BBB) bill in order to get the most out of these investments. The BBB is the largest effort to combat climate change in American History, and has sweeping investments that include port electrification and the facilitation of the deployment of cleaner transit, buses, and trucks! Our fight to see these investments realized continues.
At the same time, we still have work to do to ensure that the disproportionate highway funding in the bill is prioritized for maintenance of our existing infrastructure, rather than new, traffic-inducing roads. States have some flexibility in how they allocate these highway dollars – we hope Washington’s leaders are ready to commit to funding the transit, walking, and rolling system that we need and deserve.
Together, these can be transformative investments that will benefit our region for years to come — but, if Washington doesn’t get projects in motion, communities could miss out on millions or billions of dollars in matching federal funds. Washington is overdue for a state transportation package, and with the passage of the IIJA, now money is on the line, too.
It’s up to Washington State legislators to act on climate change and pass a transportation package that fully funds Washington’s transportation needs.
Recently, TCC’s It Takes Transportation coalition published a letter signed by more than 100 elected leaders in Washington asking the State Legislature to pass a transformative transportation package. Continuing to delay action is costing us valuable time on mitigating the climate crisis, repairing harm to BIPOC communities and leading on racial equity, and building a just recovery from the pandemic.IIJA funding makes it all the more necessary to make a strong, multimodal transportation package happen as soon as possible.
We are celebrating a big win, but there’s more work to do. Washington needs a transformative approach to transportation that meets our needs for health, safety, and affordability, and addresses climate, social, and economic justice. Join us in telling legislators that a better future #TakesTransportation.