Because of Washington State’s higher renewable energy mix, transportation accounts for about 40% of the greenhouse gas emissions in our state and is our single largest source of carbon emissions. The Governor claims his cap and trade bill is designed to make “polluters pay,” but his cap and trade proposal would hit more than just a handful of companies. Every Washingtonian will pay increased prices at the pump and to heat our homes. As a result, our state would lose jobs without reducing the world’s carbon emissions. Fortunately, lawmakers in Olympia have a viable solution to get us out of traffic jams and reduce carbon emissions.
A bipartisan transportation bill has support in both the House and Senate. If we can pass a bill that invests in our roads and transit options, we can reduce congestion. Increasing mobility and reducing time sitting in traffic, will lower our carbon footprint. Washington already has the 7th highest percentage of public transit use in the nation, the 7th fewest solo commuters, and we account for the 9th fewest miles driven in the nation. We’ve shown great leadership as a state when it comes to reducing vehicle emissions. We can keep those numbers low by improving our transportation and transit systems.
Both sides, Republicans and Democrats, acknowledge the need to fix our transportation system. But, it’s been a decade since we passed a comprehensive transportation package. For too long, we’ve been kicking the can down the road while construction and infrastructure costs continue to climb. During the Special Session, the legislature should acknowledge that passing a transportation package will not only help keep our economy vibrant; it will also meet our shared goal of reducing carbon emissions.