Did you know the Washington State Legislature is still in session?
It is! And they are still working through the details on a 16-year transportation funding package.
We’ve already reported on the modest funding for Safe Routes to School and other bike/walk safety and access projects working through the legislature. It’s pennies compared to the $8.3 billion for highways, but it’s more than usual. And it’s always at risk until it’s final.
So WA Bikes wants you to contact your legislators to tell them to stand up for the $236 million included in the House version of the bill. Even if you don’t support the whole package, we need to make sure as much bike/walk funding as possible is included if it does pass. WA Bikes even has this handy tool to help you contact them. Below is the sample text of a letter they want you to send:
I am writing to voice my thanks for the work by the House and Senate to develop transportation revenue proposals that prioritizes funding for biking and walking safety. Biking and walking safety, including Safe Routes to School, projects are popular and vital to helping build healthier and more economically vibrant communities throughout our state. I recognize both the Senate and House proposals made important contributions and forward progress for biking and walking.
I support the foundation established by the House proposal for a walking and biking project list of $100 million, and additive investments of $56 million and $75 million for the Safe Routes to School and Bicycle Pedestrian Grant Programs, respectively.
And while I appreciate this step to invest in safety and community priorities, your work is not over. To get across the finish line, these investments totaling $236 million in additive funding need to remain in the final negotiated package.
Communities across Washington state want these investments. Currently only 1 in 4 Safe Routes projects are getting funded. By holding the line at the House Transportation Committee’s proposal, we can enable more locally driven school safety projects to reach completion.
I am part of the 84 percent of Washington voters who believe that funding for Safe Routes to School projects should be prioritized in the state transportation budget. I contribute to local economies across the state when I ride my bicycle. I urge you to join me in supporting safer streets and a stronger transportation system by holding the line at $236 million in additive transportation investments for biking and walking projects statewide.
Thank you for working to prioritize funding for biking and walking safety so we can build communities that are safe for Washingtonians of every age to get out and get active.