Grand Bargain gains support

March 22, 2021

The growing movement to address our climate crisis while addressing our transportation infrastructure has gained another important business ally. In Sunday’s Seattle Times, Amazon’s vice president of Global Real Estate and Facilities John Schoettler writes,

Washington lawmakers are considering a ‘Grand Bargain’ for improvements to our transportation system that could help fix old bridges, patch our roads, clean our air and water, invest in transit and create jobs. The economic benefits of such actions are clear…Now we have a chance to build back better.” 

Building back better with a “Grand Bargain” includes both transportation and climate action. The Climate Commitment Act (SB 5126) will generate much of the funding that gets invested into the Forward WA transportation package. 

Together, strong action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and investing in climate-friendly transportation infrastructure will lead to a cleaner, healthier Washington, better positioned for long-term, broadly-shared prosperity.

Passing a transportation investment package is unfinished business in Olympia, and state legislators still have an opportunity to get this across the finish line before the legislative session ends. We applaud Sen. Steve Hobbs for his work over several years to deliver the “Forward WA” transportation proposal. We appreciate Rep. Jake Fey for conducting an extensive transportation listening tour to hear from a broad range of stakeholders in 2020. And we thank Gov. Jay Inslee for convening the transportation committee chairs and for his longstanding leadership on infrastructure investments.

Without action, we will face the harsh reality of possible cuts to badly needed infrastructure programs, projects and services. Valuable public assets like roads, bridges, ferries and buses will deteriorate because of insufficient investment in maintenance and preservation. Our endangered salmon will continue to suffer as culverts and storm-water projects languish. Local governments will face similar challenges with their streets, bike lanes and sidewalks. And important investments in clean transportation like electric vehicles and ferries, high-speed rail and transit will face further delays, creating disproportionate impacts on low-income groups and communities of color.”

Amazon’s Schoettler sums up by saying, 

Fortunately, a broad coalition of business, labor, environmental groups and local governments are continuing to advance the conversation as a unified voice in support of transportation investments. It is also encouraging to see everyday citizens who have taken time out of their day to make their voice heard in numerous transportation forums, hearings and surveys.” 

We welcome Amazon’s support of the Grand Bargain, and are gratified to be joined in our quest for jobs-boosting climate action by voices from
other major Washington employers, from the broader business community, and from labor, social justice and environmental groups across our state.

Clean & Prosperous Washington is a project of the Washington Business Alliance.
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