Biking and Walking Trails in the Balance


Right now, state legislators are quietly deciding the fate of several biking and walking trails in Washington.

Behind all the attention-grabbing debates at the state capitol – education, mega-highways, reproductive rights – there are a host of lesser-known issues still to be resolved in the upcoming special legislative session. One of those is the capital construction budget, where several proposed trail projects still hang in the balance.


The Senate's proposed capital budget includes $700,000 for the Guemes Channel Trail Project in Anacortes, $750,000 for the Kent Interurban Trail Connector, $1.3 million for the Cross-Kirkland Connector, $150,000 for the Redmond Central Connector (which we would like to get up to $1.3 million), and $5 million for a project in Issaquah that includes a bicycle/pedestrian connection to the East Lake Sammammish Trail. The House of Representatives’ proposed budget has either no funds or lower amounts for each of these projects. [Note: This is updated from a previous alert we sent on this topic.]

Meanwhile, the House budget provides $70 million for the Washington Wildlife & Recreation Program, while the Senate provides only $40 million. The higher amount in the House would pay for many more excellent outdoor recreation and conservation projects, including $35,000 for the Ferry County Rail Trail and $173,100 for the Spruce Railroad Trail and Tunnel Restoration in Clallam County, that would not be funded in the Senate version.

Leaders of the Senate and House are meeting right now to craft a final capital budget, and will soon choose which biking and walking trails become reality – and which ones remain just somebody's good idea that never happened.

Bicycling and walking are among the most popular forms of outdoor recreation in the country, as well as rapidly growing ways for people to commute for work, school, and errands. People who walk and bike regularly live healthier lives. Trails for walking and biking attract enthusiasts from near and far, and generate economic benefits for businesses throughout the area.

Washington State has long been a leader in building biking and walking trails, due to the strong demand from Washington residents for outdoor activities. Let's ask the legislature to continue that leadership as they write the final capital budget.

You can ask the legislators who are in charge of negotiating the capital budget to support trails across the state. You could also contact your own legislators (which you can locate here, but the four legislators we list on this action alert are the key decision makers. They will negotiate a capital budget for the entire state, so concerned citizens from across the state should let them know how they feel.

By encouraging support for these great proposed trails, you can help build better communities through bicycling. Thank you.

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