State transportation package fails in House

A $10 billion package for funding everything transportation in Washington state from roads to buses to bicycle lanes did not have enough votes to pass.

The House of Representatives’ $10 billion transportation package proposal was defeated today, Wednesday, June 26, on a vote of 48-42 in Olympia. The bill received a majority vote but did not reach the constitutionally required number of votes (50) for passage.

House Transportation Chair Judy Clibborn (D-Mercer Island) released the following statement in response to the vote on the transportation revenue package: “I am saddened and disappointed by the failed vote on the transportation revenue package. Our infrastructure is crumbling, our public transportation is faltering, and our economy is struggling – but gridlock remains as much a reality in the legislature as it does on our roads. Transportation has always been an issue supported by both sides of the aisle, but there was little evidence of that history in the votes that were cast today. While there is still time in the session to tackle this critical economic development issue, this package will not move forward unless there is a return to the bipartisanship that transportation used to enjoy.”

The package not only included money for roads and transit, but money for improvements for alternative means of transportation, including the Cascade Bicycle Alliance of Washington.

“We remain hopeful that the House will remove for reconsideration. We want to thank Governor Inslee and Representatives Marko Liias, Jessyn Farrell, Joe Fitzgibbon, and Cyrus Habib in particular for their leadership in developing a package that would invest in a transportation system that meets the growing needs of our cities, towns, and most importantly safety for Washington’s kids,” said Bicycle Alliance of Washington executive director Barb Chamberlain in a press release. “We appreciate that Rep. Clibborn was willing to work with them to make the improvements that were needed to plan for our transportation future.”

Chamberlain pointed out that, “At $323 million for biking and walking projects in the proposed package, the state of Washington would have invested $3.90 per Washingtonian per year on bike/walk infrastructure for safer streets and greater connectivity — less than a typical 16-ounce drink at Starbucks and right around the cost of one gallon of gas.”