The Grand Bargain is a Big Deal

March 26, 2021

Leaders in Olympia recognize that the most significant issues of our time are interconnected: the climate crisis, health inequities, economic and infrastructure troubles. Piecemeal solutions to isolated problems won’t meet the magnitude of the moment. To most effectively make progress, a holistic approach is needed. An approach that legislators are calling the “Grand Bargain”. So what is that?

The Grand Bargain brings together complementary bills that address climate action, pollution reduction, and transportation infrastructure.

Senator Reuven Carlyle’s CCA (SB 5126) is a cap-and-invest system that not only puts a price on carbon, but also puts a decreasing cap on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions AND makes significant investments in new infrastructure, transit, agriculture, forestry and shipbuilding projects. These investments will catalyze a resilient recovery towards a productive, low-carbon future, spurring statewide job-growth. Importantly, the CCA includes several provisions to prioritize historically overburdened communities, including establishment of an Environmental Justice & Equity Advisory Panel.

As our state begins to break out of the grip of the pandemic, I believe courageous climate action that invests in clean energy jobs, embeds equity at every level, and reduces emissions to Paris Accord levels is central to rebuilding our quality of life,” said Carlyle. I’m proud to join with Gov. Inslee and Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon and my colleagues to help Washington be a light among all states to strengthen and grow the economy while reducing emissions. We can show the path forward.”

Senator Steve Hobbs’s Forward Washington is a comprehensive 16-year transportation and environmental plan to invest in infrastructure and green technology projects throughout the state. Funded in part by the CCA, Forward Washington projects include such environmental priorities as stormwater cleanup, ferry electrification, and fish culvert replacement.

Washington’s transportation needs have grown with our population and so has our responsibility to fund things like transit, storm water cleanup, fish passages, safety and other priorities for people across our state” said Senator Hobbs. “We can implement a solution that moves Washington forward in both our transportation infrastructure and the environment. We have to figure out creative and equitable ways to pay for these shared priorities and Forward Washington does just that.”

Individually, each of these bills promises progress. Together, they offer a grand opportunity to build back better —cleaner, healthier and more prosperous than ever —and that’s a big deal.

P.S. — Business leaders, labor, energy companies, justice advocates, and environmentalists across the state support this Grand Bargain, and you can too: Contact your legislator to encourage a “yes” vote for climate action, economic progress, and environmental justice.

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