State Legislature Leaves Transit Riders Stranded

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State Legislature Leaves Transit Riders Stranded

The special session came to a close without any action taken to address the local transportation funding crisis in Washington State.  In a time of rising gas prices and increased demand for transit, bus service has been slashed by over 40% in the past two years in Pierce and Snohomish Counties.  In less than two years King County Metro faces a similar financial free fall when their temporary congestion relief fee expires.

Time and time again the legislature has heard the need for additional voter-approved revenues for local transit, said Rob Johnson, Executive Director of Transportation Choices. Despite this clear need, they failed to step up for bus riders across the state.  Our transit agencies are forced to strand tens of thousands of riders every single day. We have to do better.

 During the legislative session Feet First staff and supporters joined Transportation for Washington’s strong coalition for long-term, sustainable transportation funding. The campaign organized the largest Transportation Advocacy Day ever; the support of nearly 200 local elected officials, businesses, labor groups, and other organizations; and nearly 3,000 individual letters sent to legislators supporting transit funding.  The legislature raised transportation related fees through HB 2660, which temporarily directs additional state investment to transit, bicycle and pedestrian safety, ferries, road maintenance, and other transportation related programs, but failed to pass a long-term solution. To end the special session without long-term solutions for transit is a blow to communities across the state, said Hilary Franz, Executive Director of Futurewise. Slashing transit service will hinder our region’s push towards economic recovery. Without great transit, we cannot build great communities.

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