Move Ahead Washington, Nurses and Counselors for Students, and Bill Update

Dear friends and neighbors,

We are already over halfway done with this year’s legislative session. Last week, we introduced the Move Ahead Washington transportation package. As one of the lead negotiators of this package, I am pleased that we will be able to invest in Washingtonians’ priorities without raising the regressive gas tax. This package is based on over 90 listening sessions with residents from every corner of the state that I participated in. The main thing that we heard was people wanted us to maintain the infrastructure we have and finish the projects we have started. Move Ahead Washington invests historic amounts in maintenance and preservation. Please read on to learn a little more.

Move Ahead Washington Brings Big Benefits to the Spokane Region


Around Spokane, the package will have a 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. It will also make investments of $1.5 million for the transload facility at the Spokane International Airport.

In addition, the package is intertwined with a supplemental transportation budget that will speed up the North Spokane Corridor by two years from 2029 to a 2027 projection. This is achieved by removing cash flow restrictions and will potentially save money on the project.

You can read more at and the Spokesman Review.

What our package does differently to serve Washingtonians


Preserving existing infrastructure
Move Ahead Washington invests an unprecedented $3 billion to fix our failing critical infrastructure. Addressing the huge backlog in the preservation and maintenance of our bridges and roadways ensures goods get to market and we can travel safely throughout Washington. Making these investments also creates good, family-wage construction jobs to make repairs across the state.

Taking bold action to reduce carbon emissions
Our package takes decisive action against climate change by putting $5.4 billion toward electrification and the expansion of affordable, accessible options to get to work, health care appointments and educational opportunities. Our community deserves diverse choices so we can use what works for us—whether walking, rolling, driving, or riding—while reducing our carbon footprint.

Addressing harm caused by past transportation decisions
Move Ahead Washington re-prioritizes disinvested neighborhoods and renews our moral obligation to do better for BIPOC, rural, and low-income communities. We’re funding projects that expand reliable transit service, create bike and pedestrian routes, and increase opportunities for good jobs in the transportation sector. Our package also directs 35% of funds from the Climate Commitment Act into projects serving disinvested neighborhoods and communities often left out of the policymaking process.

Funding our investments
This proposal does not include a gas tax. This is a people-oriented proposal that doesn’t pass costs onto working families. Especially after the economic hardships of the pandemic, it was important that we fund these investments without an immediate gas tax. Instead, we are meeting our state’s needs with a one-time transfer from the state’s general fund, federal dollars from the Infrastructure and Jobs Act, and investments from the Climate Commitment Act.

Supporting youth mental and physical health

School student

Children’s mental health has been declining for years and the pandemic really exacerbated the issue. Teachers, parents, and staff have made heroic efforts to support kids in these challenging times. But they can’t do it alone. We need the support of nurses and counselors in every school to promote healthy mental and physical growth from the very beginning.

That’s why I’m supporting HB 1664, to ensure that public schools have more nurses and counselors. I’m really proud to report that the bill passed the House last week.

HB 1664 significantly increases the allocation for school nurses, counselors, and psychologists over the next three years. It is the result of years of work by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Governor’s Office, education stakeholders, and members of the House Education Committee.

Update on Sponsored Legislation

HB 1878: Feeding Kids Can’t Wait!


The House passed my bill to expand free school meals to over 92,000 people with a vote of 93-3. Universal free school meals are the best way to ensure that our kids have the fuel they need to learn, play, and grow.

You can also read about it in the Spokesman Review or at

HB 1868: Safe Staffing Standards


Did you know: for every additional patient that a nurse cares for, your chance of dying increases by 7%? My bill HB 1868 will establish safe staffing standards for healthcare workers and nurses at hospitals. Now is the time to ensure healthcare workers and patients are protected from unmanageable patient loads. You can read more about the bill in the Spokesman Review.

As always, it’s an honor to serve our community.

Best Regards,

Representative Marcus Riccelli