A new campaign in Washington is fighting to improve transportation for people across the state. Transportation for Washington, a project launched this week by Smart Growth America’s coalition partners Futurewise and the Transportation Choices Coalition, is calling for better repair and maintenance of roads across the state as well as more transportation choices for Washingtonians. These transportation spending strategies – which are in line with many of Smart Growth America’s recent recommendations for Washington – create jobs, spur economic growth and improve Washington’s transportation system at the same time.
Roger Millar, Director of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute, discussed these same issues with Ross Reynolds on KUOW-94.9 Seattle’s The Conversation earlier this week. Together with Mike Ennis, Director of the Center for Transportation at the Washington Policy Center, Millar discussed the state of Washington’s transportation system and how the state can get more out of their transportation dollars:
Funding for public transportation is currently a hot topic in Washington state. A bill recently introduced to the state legislature would allow local transit agencies to seek funding to finance public transit projects. According to the Washington Transportation Commission, Washington currently has over $200 billion in unfunded transportation projects – and that need is growing.
Transportation for Washington supports the passage of the new bill and better ways to fund public transportation, which is reaching all-time high ridership levels in Washington despite archaic funding structures. Spending more on public transportation wouldn’t just improve Washingtonians’ transportation options, it would create jobs and spur economic growth in the process.
Every dollar spent on public transportation projects creates double the jobs than spending on new roads or bridges. Existing local transit system planning and operations support tens of thousands of jobs in Washington, while transit service itself provides a necessary means for people to access their jobs, stores, health care, schools, and stores.