Did you know most of Washington State’s transportation investments are currently decided without any clearly defined goals and metrics? This selection process can lead to unfair and inequitable outcomes, such as increased air pollution and induced demand that creates additional congestion.
We believe these negative impacts do not align with our state’s values of creating healthy and safe communities, and a fair and equitable distribution of transportation investments. Our top priority during the 2020 legislative session was the Transportation for All bill, which would have updated the State’s transportation goals to include equity, safety, accessibility, and environmental justice. Transportation spending would then be evaluated based on these goals to help guide the decision-making process.
Together, the Climate Alliance as well as state legislators such as Senator Saldaña and Representative Shewmake supported the Transportation for All bill.
Moreover, as we look at how to fund the transportation system to achieve our state’s transportation goals, we must also assess how we generate transportation revenue and its impact towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, improving multi-model transportation choices, and ensuring fair and equitable outcomes.
Although our Transportation for All bill did not pass in full this session, we did get a budget proviso for the bill! The budget proviso will direct WSDOT to work with stakeholders, including “traditionally underserved and historically disadvantaged populations” to pick two transportation projects to evaluate based on current transportation policy goals and the themes of health, accessibility, environmental justice, equity, and climate change. This is a huge success and shows how our coalition in a short period of time, helped change the conversation around how we need to equitably and sustainability invest in transportation in Washington state!