Labor, business, environmental interests support bold transportation effort
OLYMPIA (Feb. 9, 2022) — A Move Ahead Washington package unveiled Tuesday by the Transportation Committee Chairs Sen. Marko Liias (D-Mukilteo) and Rep. Jake Fey (D-Tacoma) provides a response to challenges the state must address, including a maintenance backlog on highways and bridges, completing projects already underway, and new investments in ferries, transit and other critical projects. The bills are SBs 5974 and 5975 and HBs 2118 and 2119
Leaders of Keep Washington Rolling, a broad coalition of labor, business, local governments, transit advocates and environmental organizations, called on state lawmakers to continue forward on critical state investments in the 2022 legislative session. The state money will be used to help leverage additional federal resources included in passage of the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIIJA) last year.
“The Move Ahead Washington proposal will make critical investments that will ensure our transportation system is able to equitably support our economy, our workers and families,” said Larry Brown, president of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “Bold transportation infrastructure investments support job creation and continued economic recovery. This will put folks to work maintaining and preserving current infrastructure, building key projects, moving goods more effectively and efficiency, and ensuring mobility options for workers returning to their workplaces.”
As part of its 2022 Workers Recovery Agenda, the WSLC is calling on the Legislature to take proactive steps to create job opportunities in industries with good wages, supportive benefits, and strong labor protections, while meeting the transportation infrastructure needs of Washington families and businesses. (See the WSLC one-pager on the issue for details.)
Steve Mullin, President of the Washington Roundtable, said:
“Move Forward Washington represents a significant investment in critical infrastructure that will drive our economy for years to come. Our roads, bridges, highways and transit systems have significant backlogs of deferred maintenance projects that threaten the reliability and safety of our transportation system. These investments will begin to address immediate needs, reduce backlogs and build long-term projects in key economic corridors essential to our economy.”
Alex Hudson, Executive Director of Transportation Choices Coalition, said:
“The Move Ahead Washington package represents the investments in transportation Washingtonians are counting on to equitably access opportunity and each other. This historic investment triples the investment in transit and active transportation and will create thousands of good jobs, point us toward a sustainable future, and ensure Washingtonians can get all the places they need to go.”
Keep Washington Rolling urges support of the Move Ahead Washington plan because:
● It addresses critical needs — WSDOT estimates that the cost to preserve the state transportation system in a state of good repair is $8.1 billion over the next 10 years. Move Ahead Washington provides significant funding for maintenance and preservation projects across the state. This not only improves the system but also benefits local communities throughout the state. Included in this package are critical projects such as replacements for the current I-5 bridge over the Columbia River, completion of improvements to I-405, addressing challenges in the ferry system, underfunded transit service and infrastructure needs, and more.
● It finishes what the state has started — In 2015, the Legislature adopted Connecting Washington – a $16 billion, 16-year transportation investment plan, multimodal investments and projects in key economic corridors. Many of those projects are already underway or set to begin soon and are experiencing increased costs. Move Ahead Washington prioritizes keeping these projects on track, protecting the jobs they support and demonstrating accountability to the public.
● Invests in equitable economic opportunity for all — The state estimates a 10-year, $31 billion dollar gap for public transit and active transportation, which has only been exacerbated during the pandemic, with disproportionate impacts on low-income communities and communities of color. Move Ahead Washington makes investments to ensure the continuity and completion of our multimodal systems around the state for our most vulnerable populations and the post-pandemic workforce. State investments in fixed-route transit service to ensure a baseline level of transit for communities across Washington, bike and pedestrian infrastructure, and capital needs will be necessary to facilitate a strong economic recovery by creating jobs and assisting workers to return to their work sites and point us toward a sustainable, healthy environment.
● Prioritizes environmental stewardship and sustainability — We have a federal legal obligation to address culvert replacement over the next ten years. In addressing this — we can create jobs while we save our salmon and environment. Reducing our carbon footprint is critical in fighting the climate crisis, and the transportation sector is the single biggest contributor to GHG emissions in Washington. Move Ahead Washington makes investments in transportation to deliver more multimodal options, protect our salmon, convert our ferry and public fleets to zero emission and incentivizes the reduction of carbon use.