Why Transportation Advocacy is Important

AARP Washington is one of the leading organizations in advocating for senior issues in Olympia. Photo courtesy AARP Washington.

AARP Washington advocacy director Ingrid McDonald (Transportation for All—Keep Us Moving!) is clear and correct: "New investments should promote flexible transportation options that will help older people and people with disabilities stay mobile and engaged in their communities." And the priorities she outlines—public transit, special needs transportation, and complete streets—are good for people of all ages and all abilities, whether they use them or not.

Highway sign - direction and exit sign

Contact your state legislators today by calling 1-800-562-6000.

What is not clear is why the Washington State Legislature has failed to fund the transportation services we need and failed to provide local jurisdictions with the ability to raise local revenues to fund more transit.

King County residents are facing a 17 percent cut in bus service in the coming year. This is happening despite significant population growth. Cuts will affect nearly seven out of ten bus riders in the county. Our highways, roads, and streets are deteriorating; our bridges need repair; and our ferries are in need of replacement. Those are some of the reasons why business, labor, environmental, transit, and the people are banding together to say, "We need solutions!"

I want to thank our guest speakers at last month's Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services transportation forum for their commitment to finding solutions. I appreciated hearing from King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski, King County Metro manager Kevin Desmond, Washington State Representatives Jessyn Farrell and Luis Moscoso, and Transit Riders Union organizer Katy Wilson. Each has worked tirelessly to represent constituents who depend on public transit for work, school, errands, and social connections.

Our economy, our families, and our health depend on our ability to get around with a minimum of cost or fuss. Public transit and roads are extremely important to our quality of life. Learn more about current programs and services in the article that follows (Making It Easier to Leave Your Car at Home). We encourage you to use these services AND let your elected officials know why you need them.


 

Transit services have been cut while demand for services continues to grow. In West Seattle, transit ridership increased by almost 11 percent while major revisions and reductions were made in bus service.


Please consider getting involved in transportation advocacy this year. Here are several organizations that can use your help:

If you do just one thing, please contact your state legislators. Call the toll-free Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 or see our Advisory Council toolkit for other connections. Here's the message:

"Please pass a comprehensive transportation package now."

—Tony Provine, Chair
Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging and Disability Services