Lawmakers have received a letter signed by more than 100 business, labor and government groups urging action this session to fund transportation. The letter states,
Based on the most recent revenue forecast, the State’s Transportation budget has a projected shortfall of $758 million for the next three years. To address that issue, to support the full reopening of our economy as well as spur economic activity and support local jobs, we urge the Legislature to pass a comprehensive transportation funding package in 2021.
They identify priority issues:
We look forward to being part of the conversation and working toward a broad-based solution that includes:
• Prioritization of maintenance and preservation projects…
• Critical projects. There is an ongoing need for important projects such as replacements for the current I-5 bridge over the Columbia River, the Highway 2 trestle, the West SeattleBridge and other projects necessary to meet transportation policy goals.
• Culverts. The need to fund removal of fish passage barriers is not an option, it is a legal obligation mandated by a federal court order of approximately $3.4 billion between 2021 and 2030.
• Invest in a strong interconnected multimodal transportation system…
• Finish what we’ve 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. We should prioritize keeping those projects on track and protecting the jobs they support.
• Include new revenue streams. We understand that new revenue streams will likely be necessary in any new transportation package. We look forward to working through these options with you.
Read the short letter, which includes the list of groups calling for action. Among them (and, yes, it’s tough to narrow it down): Association of Washington Business, Alaska Airlines, Amazon, two dozen local governments, the Washington State Labor Council, Washington Roundtable, PEMCO Insurance, Microsoft, many local chambers of commerce, Transportation Choices Coalition and the Washington Environmental Coalition.
These groups have a long, successful record of working together to promote responsible transportation investments, as they point out in the closing paragraphs of the letter.
Our coalition – business leaders, labor unions, local governments and environmental and transit advocates – has worked together for more than 15 years for investments in our transportation system. We know that a healthy transportation system supports economic activity, jobs and quality of life for all Washingtonians.
We urge action in 2021 to support our economic recovery as well as local jobs.
We wish them success again this year.