The humble Neighborhood Safe Streets Bill (SHB 1045) passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday with unanimous support.
The bill, which would give municipalities the option to lower speed limits on non-arterial streets to 20 mph, passed the House 86–10 with broad bipartisan support in February. Now it has until mid-April to get a full Senate vote before heading to the Governor for a signature. This is the point where the bill languished one year ago, but it now has much more time to get a full vote. Obviously, it’s never wise to let up until the job is done, but things are looking much better than one year ago.
Most attention is moving to transportation funding, especially for transit as King County Metro faces massive cuts in service without legislative action. Transportation for Washington and many other groups are working hard to get the legislature to allow local transit funding options to avoid what could be a completely unacceptable 17 percent cut in service.
Meanwhile, momentum for much of the initial transportation package seems to be a bit weak. That package included billions of dollars in new spending on new highway expansion projects, while leaving currently underfunded and partially completed highway mega-projects unfunded.
Not only did the transportation package fail to include bold regional transit and road safety investments that would inspire people to support it, but it even failed to address the state’s existing commitments to underway projects and repairs to existing infrastructure.
Will the legislature make smart investments in road safety and Safe Routes to School? Will they allow local governments to save their own transit service? Stay tuned…