The Washington State House of Representatives today passed a transportation bill that would save King County Metro operations and invest about $323 million in biking and walking projects, road safety and complete streets projects and Safe Routes to School.
The bill also includes billions in new highway spending, including funds for the controversial Columbia River Crossing to Portland.
The Bicycle Alliance of Washington is urging people to contact their state Senators and support passage of the bill, which contains an unprecedented amount of money for biking and walking projects.
From Bike WA:
Are biking and walking projects worth the price of one gallon of gas per year?
This afternoon on a 51-41 vote the state House of Representatives passed a transportation revenue package that invests in safer bike lanes, trails, and sidewalks for Washingtonians.
Now it’s up to the state senate to decide if they will support investments for Washington kids to safely walk and bike to school, and if they will support connecting our neighborhoods for a better future for all of us. With a July 1 deadline, the next 27 hours are critical—this could all be over by Friday afternoon.
We need you to take action RIGHT AWAY to let the state senate know investments in walking and biking are important for not just people who walk and bike, but for all Washingtonians.
We aren’t asking for much. In the context of a multi-billion-dollar transportation package, at $323 million for biking and walking projects over the course of 12 years the state of Washington would invest $3.90 per Washingtonian per year on bike/walk infrastructure for safer streets and greater connectivity—roughly the cost of a 16-ounce latte or a gallon of gas.
This vote represents the last step to ensure that $323 million will be spent on projects that improve your neighborhoods, improve safety, and spur economic development in cities across Washington. Gov. Inslee has already expressed his strong support for this investment.
Please contact your state senator today to let him/her know you support safer streets for all Washingtonians and you support the investments in walking and biking at the levels in the House transportation package.
The message is simple: Vote yes on HB 1954 for transportation funding and protect the bike/walk funding.
Contact your legislator.
By phone: Call 1-800-562-6000. The operator will route your message to your senator. Your message: I SUPPORT funding biking and walking at the levels in the House transportation revenue package. Vote YES on HB 1954.
By email: Enter your mailing address on the district finder form (choose Legislative, not Congressional) and follow the instructions on the site to reach a contact form for your state senator.
Points you can include in your email:
I support the House transportation package as passed in HB 1954, specifically the safety investments for kids, bicycling, walking, and safer streets across Washington.
The total per year in the package for biking/walking projects is only $3.90 per Washingtonian—a small investment with big returns.
Your support for a revenue package that retains the walking and biking project investments currently included in the House proposal is necessary for me to support such a package.
Please support a transportation revenue proposal that fixes our transportation crises – fix our crumbling roads & bridges, keep our buses moving, make our streets safer and cleaner. You can and must act to keep our economy moving and me and my neighbors safe.
Thank you for your support and for supporting a transportation system that works for all Washingtonians.
Washington’s bicycle advocacy groups are definitely at an interesting moment, shifting from being an outsider interest to having a real seat at the table. But such a change definitely comes with growing pains and disagreement. Is $323 million for biking and walking projects enough sugar to help the bitter pill of massive highway expansions go down? Many would say no, especially those bitterly opposed to the CRC.
On the other hand, if bike groups are going to become an actual real-deal lobby (as so many radio shock jocks already seem to think it is), then shouldn’t the main job of bike advocate groups be securing bike/walk funding despite other problems with the package? They’re the bike lobby, not the anti-highway lobby. Don’t bike advocates need to be at the table with construction interests and state government transportation officials so we can get them as excited about a trail and urban cycling network as they would be for a highway project? Isn’t this is how the sausage is made? Or is it just selling out?
I don’t claim to have the answer. I know that $323 million would go a LOOOOOOONG way for walking and biking in the state. I also know Metro needs funding. But I find it very difficult to support such highway expansion funding. Maybe a bill that makes everyone a little happy and everyone a little mad is just a sign of governmental compromise.
Rep. Marko Liias certainly thinks this bill is a good thing for walking and biking:
— Marko Liias (@MarkoLiias) June 27, 2013
— Marko Liias (@MarkoLiias) June 27, 2013