Move Ahead WA Transportation Package Brings Big Benefits to Spokane Region

Package invests heavily in preservation and maintenance, bus rapid transit, and communities historically left out

Olympia – Democrats introduced the Move Ahead WA transportation package at a press conference today. This transformational $16 billion, 16-year package creates a sustainable, achievable future for Washington’s transportation sector. Informed by over 90 listening sessions held by House Democrats to hear transportation priorities across the state, the package focuses in on four top priorities: preserving and maintaining our current infrastructure, reducing carbon emissions, expanding safe, accessible, and affordable options to get around, and addressing the harm caused by past transportation policies.

“We spent a lot of time doing outreach in communities across the state, and what we heard was that people want us to preserve the infrastructure that we have now and finish the projects we have started,” said Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane), one of the lead negotiators for House Democrats. “This package ensures that Washington can finish what it started while also looking toward the future and investing in communities that have not traditionally received investment from our current transportation system.”

Around Spokane the package will have significant impact. It includes $50 million for the Spokane Transit Authority’s Division Street Bus Rapid Transit line. Once operational this line will provide an affordable, low carbon option for the 18,000 people who live within a quarter mile of the line and access to the more than 30,000 jobs located within a quarter mile of the line.

The package also includes $4 million for the Liberty Park Land Bridge reconnecting the historically Black East Central neighborhood, that was first divided by the construction of Interstate 90 in the late 1950s and ’60s and displaced many residents, with the East Sprague business district. Other projects include $2.2 million and $3.9 million for bicycle and pedestrian improvements for the Cook Street and Pacific Avenue Greenways respectively as well as $5.8 million for the Millwood Trail.

“This package maximizes our ability to use federal dollars without raising the gas tax, which is something we repeatedly heard during our listening sessions,” said Riccelli. “I am particularly excited about the Connecting Communities fund, which provides $50 million to fund projects in communities that have had historic underinvestment in walking and biking infrastructure. For the first time, the Legislature is putting those communities that have historically been left out, such as communities of color and rural communities, at the front of the line.”

In addition, the package is intertwined with a supplemental transportation budget and will open the door to speeding up the North Spokane Corridor by three years from 2029 to 2027. This is achieved by removing cash flow restrictions and will save $7.3 million. Riccelli has been working tirelessly to bring this speed up of the project to fruition and is confident that work will pay off for Spokane and the region.

You can learn more about the package here and here. Rep. Riccelli is available for comment on the package. Please contact Peter Kitchen, to arrange an interview.