A bill to continue a statewide program to improve active transportation connectivity in overburdened communities unanimously passed the Senate Thursday.
Senate Bill 6283, sponsored by Sen. T’wina Nobles (D-Fircrest), would eliminate the expiration date for the Sandy Williams Connecting Communities Program, which is set to end in 2027. Williams, a Black community organizer and advocate, worked to address historic injustices created by highway projects in the mid-century. She led the effort to reconnect her Spokane neighborhood after Interstate 90 geographically split it in half.
“Sandy dedicated her life to healing and uplifting Black communities in Spokane,” Nobles said. “By getting rid of the expiration date, we can ensure her legacy lives on and continue to make a difference in our communities most in need.”
Administered by the state Department of Transportation, the program was created as part of the Move Ahead Washington package in 2022 and allocated $50 million over five years to:
- Repair transportation inequities by directing investments to environmentally overburdened, vulnerable, and underserved communities
- Improve access to community destinations and services
- Provide contracting opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses and community-based organizations
The bill now heads to the House for consideration.