(1) The legislature finds that many communities across Washington state have not equitably benefited from investments in the active transportation network. The legislature also finds that legacy state transportation facilities designed primarily for vehicle use caused disconnections in safe routes for people who walk, bike, and roll to work and to carry out other daily activities.
(2) To address these investment gaps, and to honor the legacy of community advocacy of Sandy Williams, the Sandy Williams connecting communities program is established within the department. The purpose of the program is to improve active transportation connectivity in communities by:
(a) Providing safe, continuous routes for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other nonvehicle users carrying out their daily activities;
(b) Mitigating for the health, safety, and access impacts of transportation infrastructure that bisects communities and creates obstacles in the local active transportation network;
(c) Investing in greenways providing protected routes for a wide variety of nonvehicular users; and
(d) Facilitating the planning, development, and implementation of projects and activities that will improve the connectivity and safety of the active transportation network.
(3) The department must select projects to propose to the legislature for funding. In selecting projects, the department must consider, at a minimum, the following criteria:
(a) Access to a transit facility, community facility, commercial center, or community-identified assets;
(b) The use of minority and women-owned businesses and community-based organizations in planning, community engagement, design, and construction of the project;
(c) Whether the project will serve:
(i) Overburdened communities as defined in RCW 70A.02.010
to mean a geographic area where vulnerable populations face combined, multiple environmental harms and health impacts, and includes, but is not limited to, highly impacted communities as defined in RCW 19.405.020
(ii) Vulnerable populations as defined in RCW 70A.02.010
to mean population groups that are more likely to be at higher risk for poor health outcomes in response to environmental harms, due to adverse socioeconomic factors, such as unemployment, high housing, and transportation costs relative to income, limited access to nutritious food and adequate health care, linguistic isolation, and other factors that negatively affect health outcomes and increase vulnerability to the effects of environmental harms; and sensitivity factors, such as low birth weight and higher rates of hospitalization. Vulnerable populations include, but are not limited to: Racial or ethnic minorities, low-income populations, populations disproportionately impacted by environmental harms, and populations of workers experiencing environmental harms;
(iii) Household incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level; and
(iv) People with disabilities;
(d) Environmental health disparities, such as those indicated by the diesel pollution burden portion of the Washington environmental health disparities map developed by the department of health, or other similar indicators;
(e) Location on or adjacent to tribal lands or locations providing essential services to tribal members;
(f) Crash experience involving pedestrians and bicyclists; and
(g) Identified need by the community, for example in the state active transportation plan or a regional, county, or community plan.
(4) It is the intent of the legislature that the Sandy Williams connecting communities program comply with the requirements of chapter 314, Laws of 2021.
(5) The department shall submit a report to the transportation committees of the legislature by December 1, 2022, and each December 1st thereafter identifying the selected connecting communities projects for funding by the legislature. The report must also include the status of previously funded projects.
(6) This section expires July 1, 2027.