Coalition announces release of principles to make state’s transportation system more fair and balanced for all Washingtonians
Today is National Dump the Pump Day, a day when millions of Americans choose to ‘dump the pump’ and take public transit instead of driving. But for thousands of residents in Washington State, devastating cuts to bus service, especially the loss of Sunday and night service in some places, has made it difficult to take the bus to work, school, the doctor, or the grocery store.
In response, the Transportation for Washington campaign is releasing a set of principles to create a system that is fair, provides access, and creates opportunity for all Washingtonians.
These equity principles emphasize policies and investments to preserve, restore, and improve transit service; plan and build healthy, safe, and inclusive communities; increase access to quality jobs and workforce development; and focus on results. The principles are designed to serve as a guide for policymakers and advocates to advance solutions that create a more balanced transportation network in the state.
Currently, most transportation dollars are spent on roads, while transit systems are often left in disrepair. Nationally, 80 percent of all surface transportation funds is earmarked for highways and 20 percent for public transportation. Washington spends less than 5% of state transportation dollars on transit and restricts gas tax revenue to highway programs only. This has created transportation inequities that unfairly burden sectors of our society with increased transportation costs and unequal access to economic and educational opportunities.
“Bus service is not just lines on a map. It’s about connecting people to jobs, services, and their communities. In neighborhoods in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties, loss of bus service has cut off access especially for communities of color, low-income families, seniors, immigrants and refugees, and people with disabilities,” said Estela Ortega, Executive Director, El Centro De La Raza and endorser of the Transportation for Washington Campaign. “In these tough times, there must be a renewed urgency to make our transportation system work for all in community,” she added.
Diane Narasaki, Executive Director of Asian Counseling & Referral Service (ACRS), and Rebecca Saldana of Puget Sound Sage both also released video testimonials in support of the Transportation for Washington campaign and its effort to make sure transportation works for all people.
Diane Narasaki, ACRS
Hilary Franz, Executive Director, Futurewise and co-chair of the Transportation for Washington campaign added, “If we are to remain economically competitive and a vital place to live, we must create communities that are affordable, healthy, and well connected with great transportation choices.”
Learn more about National Dump the Pump Day on the American Public Transportation Association’s webpage.