By Jacob Pederson, Clean Energy & Communications Intern
Whether you’re a biker, a walker, a proud user of public transportation, a hoverboarder or a driver, the Bellingham Transportation Fund (BTF) is your BFF.
For ten years, funds from the voter-approved BTF have been put to work resurfacing roads, creating biker and pedestrian routes, and making our city more accessible to people with disabilities. These projects also cut the city’s carbon emissions by expanding public transportation infrastructure and funding the construction of electric charging stations.
Prop 2020-14 is vital for neighborhoods
The Bellingham Transportation Fund has achieved all of this with a mere 0.002% of the City’s sales tax. If you live in the city, renewing funding for these important projects is on your ballots. If you vote YES on Proposition 2020-14, it will allow the city to continue expanding and improving its Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, and increasing access to public transportation without raising costs to taxpayers.
Over 70 percent of projects funded by the BTF in the last decade went to historically disadvantaged, low and moderate income neighborhoods throughout the city, according to City Councilmember Hannah Stone. This is a trend that the City plans to continue if the funding is authorized by taxpayers for another 10 years, with a focus on connecting the pedestrian walkways and bicycle lanes that have already been built.
“The most critical thing is that irrespective of income, all people will have equal access to safe, healthy modes of transportation within our city,” says Stone.
Prop 2020-14 is climate action
Boosting equity and accessibility for multiple modes of transportation in the city is just the tip of the iceberg as the city prepares to become a leader on climate action. Local measures like the BTF help communities tackle both issues
Holding back tears, Councilmember Stone recounted an announcement by her 15-year-old son that he couldn’t imagine having children because the Earth would be so damaged by climate change that they wouldn’t have a future.
It’s a real call to action for civic leaders because we’re at a critical point in time, a tipping point, where in another ten years people would be asking, ‘what did you do to try and solve this problem?’ —Hannah Stone, Bellingham City Councilmember
“As a parent, that’s heartbreaking to hear,” said Stone, “it’s a real call to action for civic leaders because we’re at a critical point in time, a tipping point, where in another ten years people would be asking, ‘what did you do to try and solve this problem?’”
This summer, Stone spearheaded a resolution to commit 40 percent of BTF funding to non-motorized transportation improvements and 20 percent to projects relating to the Climate Action Plan and green initiatives by the Whatcom Transportation Authority.
“I have to remain optimistic,” said Stone.
This fund also allows the city to match grant funding that bolsters safe programs for walking and biking to school. Over $4 million has been raised in the past 10 years alone to finance these efforts.
But, the fate of this fund and the projects that decrease carbon emission and increase accessibility, safety, and efficiency is in tax payer’s hands. In light of all it’s done and what it will do in the future, RE Sources urges you to vote “yes” on Proposition 2020-14 to keep Bellingham Moving forward!