Lynne Dodson on:

Transportation

Transportation decisions made today will affect our state for generations to come. Dependence on single occupancy cars exacerbates pollution, global warming, traffic congestion, community health and reliance on imported oil. One in ten children in Washington suffers from asthma; low-income communities in the haze of the freeways face even higher rates. Environmental and social justice requires thoughtful, future-oriented transportation planning.

The legislature sets policy that determines how much and where tax dollars can be raised and spent on transportation choices. Transportation options are limited when tax dollars are earmarked primarily for highways, with little flexibility for transit options, and too few dollars left over for city street maintenance and bicycle commuter upgrades.

The principles that will drive my work on transportation include:

  • Long range, coordinated regional planning, with an emphasis on increasing public transportation options, accessibility, and efficiency.

  • Increased tax dollars for transit options including public transportation, street maintenance, bicycle and pedestrian-friendly pathways, and other options that will reduce our dependence on single-occupancy vehicles.

  • Finding new ways of funding highway, public transportation, and road maintenance projects, including changes in our tax structure to increase spending on public transit without shifting more of the burden to working families.

  • Bringing together commuters, neighborhood residents, transportation planners, environmental activists, and transportation and building trades unions to strategically assess and plan our transportation needs into the future.

  • Action. We can't just continually assess and plan we must act to get us out of our current grid-locked, single occupancy, limited public transit choices situation.

In the state legislature, I will work to:

  • Increase funding for public transportation. We must put money into transit, not just road improvements. This includes improved bus service, with electric and other low pollution options; ferries, including passenger-only ferries; light rail; and bicycle and pedestrian safe corridors.

  • Balance personal and commercial transportation needs. Solutions to traffic congestion, environmental pollution and over-dependence on oil must be sensitive to our role as a major port and trade center. We must both reduce reliance on single-occupancy cars and improve freight mobility.

  • Ensure community accountability. The 520 bridge expansion and the Viaduct replacement/tear down are in the works. Current funding requires the Viaduct to maintain capacity. We need to maintain a working Port of Seattle with viable freight mobility while ensuring our funding requirements are not prohibiting alternatives that will help move people out of their cars and onto public transportation. In addition, community members will be impacted by whatever decisions are made; as will commuters, maritime and building trades. These constituencies must be brought together to assess common goals and find a solution that will increase the availability, and attractiveness of alternative modes of transportation for commuters.


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