Transportation Funding

All Aboard Washington (AAWA) believes Washington must take a new approach to funding its transportation improvements. As a consumer-oriented passenger rail advocacy group, AAWA supports continued investment in the Amtrak Cascades service because travelers across the Pacific Northwest need and want it. Many improvements must be made to realize the full benefits of our investment in the service, but getting a fair share of existing funding sources is difficult to do. Local and intercity transit systems only receive a small percentage of the total revenue raised by transportation taxes.

Plan and Fund Transportation as a Network

The various modes that form Washington’s transportation system are often studied, funded, and operated separately of one another. AAWA believes that one of the greatest opportunities for improving our mobility over the next decade is in the area of intermodal connectivity. To do this, we must make sure that our sidewalks, roads, bus stops, ferry terminals, train stations, and airports work together as compliments in a network rather than as competitors. AAWA supports inter-agency cooperation, project studies that encourage network integration, and funding reforms that reduce competition among different modes.

Leverage Existing Infrastructure

Building new infrastructure is often perceived to be of greater importance than having good long-term maintenance and operations strategies. Ribbon-cutting ceremonies attract positive press, while track shutdowns and lane closures for maintenance reasons receive negative attention. Maintaining existing infrastructure and using it as efficiently as possible is a good strategy in good times and in bad. Therefore, AAWA sees stable transportation maintenance and operations funding - for all modes - and efficient utilization of capacity as critical needs in Washington.

Establish Dedicated Funding for Passenger Rail

Transportation funding in Washington is frequently threatened by initiatives and changes in political whims. We must protect our freedom of mobility, and AAWA believes that transportation agencies should use a multifaceted income approach to do so. AAWA strongly supports high fiscal transparency, comprehensive cost-benefit analyses that consider the externalities of services and projects, and dedicated transportation funding mechanisms that ensure stability from year to year.

June 2020