Transportation Choices Coalition Programs
Imagine living in an affordable, walkable, bike-friendly, vibrant community connected by first-rate transit. This is the vision behind Transportation Choices Coalition.
Over the past 50 years, the U.S. has developed a transportation system that is environmentally, economically and socially unsustainable. It was from this landscape that Transportation Choices Coalition emerged in 1993, inspired by the tremendous challenge of changing the state's future. Our mission is to bring Washingtonians more and better transportation choices…real opportunities to take a bus, catch a train, ride a bike, or walk. We believe that providing Washingtonians with more ways to get around is better for the planet, creates healthier communities, and saves time and money.
Transportation Choices' education program spreads the word about effective transportation options. From our Transportation 101 programs for local elected officials, to our trainings on how to ride the bus or train, we are consistently working to educate the public on the health, environmental, and pocketbook benefits of driving less.
Transportation Choices' policy program helps to identify simple solutions to our complex transportation problems. By changing the paradigm from planning for 'more cars' to one that values the mobility of people and goods, we've been able to radically shift the design, and construction of some of our state's biggest transportation projects. Our successful Sustainable Cities work helped to review parking, land use, and transportation goals of several cities and has helped to solidify great partnerships with local governments in Washington State.
Transportation Choices' advocacy program is responsible for helping cities, counties, and transit agencies around Washington state raise more than $25 billion worth of transportation investments since 2005 including more bus service, new light rail, street cars, sidewalks and bike lanes. In addition, our successful efforts to set Washington's targets to reduce drive-alone car trips, thereby reducing our global warming and waterway pollution, have received national attention and were the first of their kind in the United States.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Bus Service is Saved in King County!
As many know, bus service in Washington State is facing an onging funding crisis, and King County Metro is no exception. Currently, public transit in Washington can only be funded by sales tax and fares. Although Metro has one of the higher fare recovery rates in the nation, most of the agency's revenues (roughly 75%) come from the volatile, regressive sales tax.
Not surprisingly, the recession has dealt a major blow to Metro's finances. Despite implementing audit and other efficiences and raising fares 80% in four years, Metro still faced an extreme budget shortfall. The agency had two choices: find additional revenue or cut service by a devastating 17%. These cuts would have affected four out of five bus riders in King County.
Fortunately, the legislature granted King County the authority to collect a temporary (two-year) $20 license fee called a congestion reduction charge (CRC). After a nail-biting two months of negotiation and unprecedented citizen input -- Transportation Choices delivered 15,000 petitions and more than 1,500 people showed up in support at public hearings -- the County Council passed it with the required supermajority. The CRC will prevent service cuts in the short term while Metro works to identify and obtain a more sustainable, equitable source for transit funding.
Transportation Choices was involved in every step of the CRC adoption -- from working in Olympia for taxing authority to mobilizing thousands of citizens to write, call and testify, to helping with tense Council negotiations.
We need more advocates for sustainable transportation solutions! Please consider becoming a Transportation Choices member today. Your donation helps us help all Washingtonians with more ways to get around.