On July 1, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the INVEST in America Act, a comprehensive infrastructure package that aims to make transformational investments in highways, roads, bridges, transit, rail, and water infrastructure. Supporters of the bill believe it will create good-paying jobs, modernize the nation’s infrastructure, and reduce carbon pollution. The legislation puts some of the key pieces of President Biden’s infrastructure plan into legislation.
The legislation also included funding for two initiatives led by U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) that promote walking and bicycling to school, and improvements to street infrastructure – including lighting and sidewalks – in the Hilltop neighborhood of Tacoma.
“Investing in infrastructure can put people to work now and lay the foundation for jobs and economic opportunity over the long haul,” said Rep. Kilmer. “That’s why the action today is a big deal. Importantly, today’s legislation includes funding for projects that I’ve been advocating for in Tacoma that will enhance the vitality of the Hilltop neighborhood and make the city safer for parents and kids to get to and from schools. These are smart investments for our community. I’ll keep working to create good-paying jobs and to invest in a greener, more prosperous future.”
“The City of Tacoma is very excited to see our Links to Opportunity and Safe Routes to Schools projects included in the INVEST in America Act. We are honored to have Congressman Kilmer’s partnership in advancing these projects that will make significant infrastructure improvements in historically-underserved communities in Tacoma,” said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards. “Our Links to Opportunity project will enhance the Sound Transit Hilltop Tacoma Link extension corridor, including a festival-style street for community gatherings. Our Safe Routes to Schools projects will make the built environment much safer for parents and kids going to and from elementary schools in the southern parts of our city. I am very hopeful for the passage of this landmark legislation.”
“The INVEST in America Act is not just an investment in our nation’s infrastructure; it’s an investment in our local communities. The legislation prioritizes safe routes to schools as a key component of our transportation system and targets funding to fund specific local enhancements that will help protect our kids at Whitman and Edison Elementary Schools,” said Joshua Garcia, deputy superintendent of Tacoma Public Schools. “These investments will improve safety outcomes and reduce disparities. The administrators and families of the Tacoma Public Schools District are grateful to Congressman Derek Kilmer for advocating for these critical projects and this important legislation on our behalf of our students.”
The INVEST in America Act includes $2,000,000 for the City of Tacoma’s Links to Opportunity Project, which aims to actively engage the community in designing streetscape improvements along Sound Transit’s Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension route. The scope of these improvements include sidewalks, lighting, street furniture, wayfinding signage, trees, and landscaping. The resulting streetscape design aims to enable safe access for all users including pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. According to the City of Tacoma, the Links to Opportunity project aims to connect Hilltop residents with workforce development and economic empowerment opportunities provided by the increase in number of construction jobs in the region, including those related to the Tacoma Link Extension Construction.
The INVEST in America Act also includes $1,000,000 for the City of Tacoma’s Safe Routes to School Improvements for Whitman Elementary and Edison Elementary, which aims to promote safer walking and bicycling routes for K-12 students. According to the City of Tacoma, the project aims to empower students and parents to feel comfortable walking or bicycling to school, which in turn should encourage children to lead more active and healthier lifestyles.