Zachary DeWolf, Environmental Priorities Coalition, 206-771-4207
Introduce a Comprehensive 2022 Package to Transform Transportation
‘Move Ahead Washington’ Led by Senator Liias, Senator Saldaña and Rep. Fey
OLYMPIA, WA–Today, Washington lawmakers from the state Senate and the House of Representatives introduced Move Ahead Washington, a comprehensive transportation package they intend to pass in the 2022 legislative session.
Passage of this historic legislation invests in communities and transit-related programs– one of the highest in state history–reduces toxic emissions, supports road maintenance and preservation, funds clean transportation, and constitutes the biggest investment in recent memory in transit, transit operations, bicycle and pedestrian programs, all in support of addressing the climate emergency. What is unique is this proposal’s lack of reliance on a gas tax.
“Compared to the status quo, this historical and transformative package will more than triple the amount we invest in transit and active transportation, and for the first time ever makes multimodal investment a bigger spending category than new highway capacity,” said Alex Hudson, Executive Director of Transportation Choices Coalition. “It’s exactly the shift in approach that we have needed for a very, very long time. If we want to reach our state’s climate goals and create an equitably prosperous economy, dramatically more people need access to exceptional levels of transit service connected by safe walking and rolling networks in every community. This package is a big down payment on making that a reality.”
Our transportation system has cascading impacts on people’s health, ability to safely and efficiently get around, the vitality of our salmon runs and the connection to each other. Transportation is the number one source of climate pollution in our state and the cause of significant polluted stormwater runoff into our waterways. The pollution from our state’s roadways and vehicles disproportionately impact people of color and low income people. Moving to a clean, equitable, and safe transportation system requires targeted investments, prioritized in overburdened communities across the state in transit, pedestrian and multi-modal ways to get around, in electrification and other clean transportation sources, and in fish passage.
“The Legislature is stepping up to tackle pollution from transportation in a historic fashion, focusing on reducing emissions for future generations. This package takes a big leap forward in addressing clean transportation, with a focus on people and communities first. We will work hard to pass this historic package and ensure it’s funded in an equitable way,” said Alyssa Macy, CEO of Washington Environmental Council/Washington Conservation Voters.
The Legislature last passed a transportation package in 2015 that prioritized highway expansions. Now, with the passage of the Climate Commitment Act, Clean Fuel Standard, and the HEAL Act, the Legislature is turning the tide towards deeper investments in overburdened communities, in transit programs across the state, in clean transportation such as electrification and in preserving and maintaining roads before expanding. The release of the Move Ahead WA package today includes $5.4 billion from the initial revenue of the Climate Commitment Act, a game-changing source of funding.
“We are excited to see this proposal to clean up transportation and provide more ways to get around in our communities through historic investments in transportation electrification, transit, and active mobility,” stated Leah Missik, Washington Transportation Policy Manager for Climate Solutions. “These investments should lead to climate progress, cleaner air, and healthier communities. Right now, transportation is our largest source of climate pollution and we need to cut these emissions rapidly. This package is partly funded by the Climate Commitment Act, and we look forward to working with legislators to make sure these investments lead to deep pollution reductions and transition away from dirty fuels. By passing a climate-forward package, legislators will show continued leadership in responding urgently to the climate crisis, accelerating clean transportation choices and prioritizing communities most burdened by pollution.”
The information released today is ahead of a scheduled Thursday hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee. The bill numbers of the package are SB 5974 and SB 5975. As a coalition, we are looking at these details just released, including for how the Climate Commitment Act dollars invest in overburdened communities and cut climate pollution commensurate with our goals, for specific programmatic investments around electrification and other alternative fuels, and the source and level of investment in addressing polluted stormwater runoff.
“We urgently need to transform our transportation sector to meaningfully address climate change and build resilience for Washington’s communities and ecosystems,” said Mike Stevens, Washington state director for The Nature Conservancy. “State lawmakers should capitalize on this opportunity to leverage federal investments and put revenue from the Climate Commitment Act to work reducing emissions and cleaning up pollution while investing in equity, human health and salmon recovery. We look forward to seeing the Move Ahead Washington proposal benefit nature and communities across our state.”
Move Ahead Wa, the transformative transportation package includes:
- $5.4 B investment of Climate Commitment Act transportation-related revenue in emission-reducing programs;
- Invests in preservation and maintenance of roadways more than new highway projects;
- Prioritizes transit systems across the state, including transit operations, bicycle and pedestrian projects; and
- Expands electrification and clean transportation programs.
ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENTAL PRIORITIES COALITION: The Environmental Priorities Coalition is a network of 26 leading environmental groups in Washington state that influence policy at the state level. For over a decade, the Coalition has selected joint priority issues to work on during the legislative session to help focus environmental community resources and best achieve our shared goals. @epctweets environmentalpriorities.org