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Washington legislature passes largest state bicycling infrastructure package

Published March 11, 2022
Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to sign the $1.3 billion transportation bill.

OLYMPIA, Wash. (BRAIN) — The state legislature here passed its largest bicycling infrastructure and bike education funding bill Thursday

The $1.3 billion Move Ahead Washington transportation package will include protected bike and pedestrian infrastructure, multi-use trails, a new statewide public school bike education program, and the Safe Routes to Schools program, which encourages children to walk and bicycle to school

The bill, which heads to Gov. Jay Inslee for his expected signature, is a four-fold increase over the $320 million contained in the previous major transportation package approved in 2015.

"This is a historic and unprecedented level of spending that makes Washington state a leader in the effort to make bicycling safer, easier, and more popular for individuals, families, and children across our state," said Lee Lambert, executive director of Washington Bikes.

Past funding constraints meant that only one in five applications to the bike/pedestrian and Safe Routes to Schools grant programs received funding. That left many communities without the safe and connected bike routes they needed at a time when more people are biking because of the bike boom and rising gas prices.

"We applaud legislators and the governor for investing in efforts that will protect our most vulnerable road users, and especially our children as they bike and walk to school," said Vicky Clarke, policy director for Washington Bikes. "In particular, we thank Sen. Marko Liias (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, and Rep. Jake Fey (D-Wash.), chair of the House Transportation Committee, for fighting on behalf of these unparalleled bike, walk, and roll investments."

Move Ahead Washington includes the following spending for bike, walk, and education programs:

  • $290 million for Safe Routes to Schools.
  • $278 million for the Bike/Ped Grant Program.
  • $50 million for a new Connecting Communities grant program to fund active transportation projects that undo harms in communities divided by highways and major transportation corridors.
  • $216 million for new bicycling education programs serving state elementary, middle, and high school students. This will be the largest statewide youth bicycling curriculum of its kind in the nation.
  • $313 million for on-street bike networks, sidewalks, and trails projects to connect and fill gaps in active transportation networks. Highlights include:
  • $29 million to help complete the 42-mile Eastrail multi-use trail.
  • $6.9 million for the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trail.
  • $4 million for the Liberty Park Land Bridge in Spokane.
  • $6 million for a bike and pedestrian bridge of SR-500 in Vancouver.
  • $50 million to improve biking and walking safety on Aurora Avenue in Seattle.
  • $5 million for a pedestrian and bike bridge over SR 169 in Maple Valley.

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