Leadership at the state Department of Transportation is getting a shake-up.
Secretary of Transportation Paula Hammond has been replaced by Lynn Peterson, transportation advisor to Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber. The change has garnered optimism among people pushing for a more balanced and multi-modal approach to improving transportation in the state.
Peterson has worked in sustainable transportation and worked at TriMet, Portland’s transit agency. Governor Inslee hailed her ability to lead on sustainability and innovation.
“We need an innovative approach to fixing a transportation network that is outdated and hampering our economic growth,” said Inslee in a press release. “Lynn has the experience, creativity and leadership skills to help Washington build a transportation system for the 21st century. And we’ll do that in a way that more efficiently moves people and goods and reduces carbon emissions.”
Pointing out that Peterson rides a bike, Cascade praised the choice shortly after the announcement was made.
“We’re thrilled Governor Inslee is signaling a new approach to transportation, one that serves people who are working together to make neighborhoods safer for our children, while also protecting the climate,” said Evan Manvel, Director of Policy, Planning and Government Affairs for Cascade.
The appointment comes as the legislature is set to unveil their transportation funding package, with highway mega-projects in Seattle, Spokane and Vancouver likely to take center stage in the debates.
With Hammond at the helm, it seemed like the state could always find billions for car-centric highway projects, but had trouble finding much for road safety and Safe Routes to School projects. Will Peterson help lead a change in this approach to moving people and goods?
Seems like a good pick. We should know more when she weighs in on the 520 bike path and the Columbia River bridge issues. I’m not holding my breath but it seems like a move in the right direction. (away from only Auto transit as the priority for transportation in this state.)
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