Adopted at the August 11th, 2021 membership meeting.
WHEREAS Washington State, and in fact the whole country, is in the midst of a climate crisis, a housing crisis, and a failure to protect residents and visitors from vehicular accidents, with transportation creating 45%1(and increasing2) of Washington State’s greenhouse gases; and
WHEREAS Washington State has developed a massive backlog of deferred maintenance on existing roadways, of which 57%—$6.9 billion—is unfunded, making Washington the eighth worst in the country for its share of roads (27%) in poor condition.4 At the same time, more than three-fourths of the state’s spending on roads went toward expansion—fourth highest in the nation, while the State, County, and City governments continue to build more lanes of highways and roads while underfunding investment in transit, passenger and freight rail, non-motorized mobility, and general mobility safety, and while these non-vehicular modes of transportation have been repeatedly demonstrated to create more culturally and economically vibrant neighborhoods and cities; and
WHEREAS Washington State has a history of racial/ethnic and income inequity in transportation infrastructure, including building highways—such as the 509 extension5—through communities with higher percentages of color or lower incomes; and
WHEREAS Washington State’s 18th Amendment creates a structural inequity by limiting gas tax revenues to highways purposes, and the legislature has created new funding sources with carbon pricing that have not yet been committed to carbon-reducing projects, and the legislature is likely to take up the issue of transportation funding in a special session later this year; and
WHEREAS We have an opportunity with carbon pricing revenues to invest in proven methods to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gasses, increase public safety, and reduce sprawl with mode shifts to non-car-based mobility including transit, bike lanes, pedestrian access, and “15-minute cities” while using the gas tax to fund for salmon recovery, the ferry system, and road maintenance;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the 34th District Democrats call for an end to the financially and environmentally unsustainable expansion of roads and highways, especially those through predominantly BIPOC or lower income neighborhoods, and instead use the gas tax in an equitable manner to adequately fund maintenance and repair of our highways, roads and ferry system, including modifications needed to meet our obligations for salmon habitat recovery; and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the 34th District Democrats call for a true investment in environmentally sustainable mobility, public safety, and “15-minute cities” by dedicating 100% of the carbon pricing revenue, road use fees, and expanded car tab weight fees in a transformational investment by state, counties, and cities in non-vehicular mobility, that cannot be funded by the gas tax, including transit, passenger and freight rail, bike lanes, ADA compliance, and walkable, safe streets; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that this resolution shall be forwarded to the Chairs and Ranking Minority Members of the Washington House and Senate Transportation and Environment Committees, the legislative delegation from the 34th District, and the State and County Democratic Central Committees.
Submitted by Annie Phillips, 34th LD Democrats member, co-lead, Environment, Energy and Land Use Caucus, and 34th PCO, for consideration by the 34th Legislative District Democrats.