A missed opportunity?
Last week, we offered a simple question for many situations: If we do this, will it create a better world for our children?
This week, state legislators introduced a $10 billion ($10,000,000,000) transportation package.Would it create a better world for our children?
Sadly, it would not.
Washington State is sorely in need of smart transportation investments. This is an opportunity to make it safer for our kids to bike and walk to school. An opportunity to make it easier for hard-working families to bike, walk or take transit to work, school, shops, restaurants, and places of worship. An opportunity to focus on fixing our existing roads while making them safer for everybody.
But in the first draft of the transportation package,politicians have missed an opportunity.
The draft transportation revenue package includes a little bit of money for mass transit, a little bit of money for maintaining the roads we already have – and billions upon billions of dollars for new highway expansions.
Meanwhile, there is next to nothing that meets the needs of people who bicycle – and those who want to ride, but don’t feel safe. Less than one percent of the package is devoted to the Complete Streets grant program to help build sidewalks, crosswalks, street trees, transit stop improvements and bike lanes.
There is little money left for smart investments because half of the money in the package is dumped into mega-highway projects.
The good news: no one, not even the strongest supporters of the package, thinks this is the final version. The consensus at the state capitol is this draft package is the start of the discussion, not the end. Over the next few weeks, decisions on the transportation package will affect the future of our communities for decades.
Big corporations that profit from building highways have long pushed a roads-only approach. They’ve rigged the system and made our cities less livable for working families and less safe for kids. They've had the most influence so far in writing the transportation package. But we have an opportunity right now to change that.
Now is the time for tell your legislators about what you want to see in the transportation revenue package. Your legislators will only do the right thing if they hear from thousands of people like you.