Feet First and some of our Statewide Action Network partners submitted this to the Washington House and Senate Transportation Committee members. We invite all our friends and supporters to contact your legislators directly and urge them to support important active transportation investments!
March 10, 2021
Dear House and Senate Transportation Committee Members,
We’re writing to express our support for greater investments in active transportation in the biennial transportation budget (HB 1135/SB 5165). This letter comes from Feet First and members of our Statewide Action Network.
We know two things – first, that demand for active transportation projects statewide significantly exceeds available funding, and second, that projects that can be funded from gas tax revenues should not be pulled from the multimodal account. These funds are a key source for active transportation projects and have no alternatives.
Demand for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure is very high. For the 2021-23 grant cycle, WSDOT received 242 applications requesting $190
million for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) and Pedestrian and Bicycle Program grants. Available funding will support fewer than 20% of these
applications. Funding for the Transportation Investment Board (TIB)’s Complete Streets program, which was zeroed out for 2020, has also been
insufficient to meet demand in previous years, and many smaller communities depend on state funds to complete much-needed pedestrian projects.
There’s another thing we know – that the most vulnerable in our state – elderly and disabled people, people of color, immigrants – are the most
likely to depend on walking, transit, and bicycling to get around. We know that active transportation projects, including investments in transit, and
access to transit, can provide crucial support to exactly the communities who have suffered most during the pandemic.
Finally, we know – as Transportation Secretary Millar has stated – that active transportation projects create 22 to 46 percent more jobs than
highway projects, and that contracts for this work are more likely to go to smaller, women and minority owned businesses, who have also been more
heavily impacted by the pandemic.
At Feet First, we’ve been advocating for walkability for everyone in Washington for over 20 years. We invite you to use this transportation
budget to embrace that goal, to restore TIB funding, significantly increase WSDOT SRTS and ped/bike grant funding, and help build better
Jon Cowin, President, Feet First
Complete Streets Bellevue
Bothellites for People Oriented Places
Disability Mobility Initiative, Disability Rights WA
Greater Redmond Transportation Management Association