Today, the Washington State Senate passed SB 5452, legislation to expand options for local governments to use money from impact fees to build bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

“We use impact fees to pay for all kinds of good, helpful infrastructure – why not for more bike options?” asked Sen. Sharon Shewmake (D-Bellingham), prime sponsor of the bill. “Places for people to walk and bike are such an important part of a livable and vibrant community, and being able to commute to work or run errands on bike or foot is great exercise, good for our environment, and just plain more fun than driving! As we increase our investments in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure across Washington’s growing communities, this is a great option for cities that want to use it.”

Impact fees are paid by developers building new construction and are used to fund infrastructure to support that growth, like roads, schools, fire protection, and parks. Currently, transportation impact fees can only be used to fund bicycle or pedestrian infrastructure that’s part of a street or road, and not for separated bike lanes, even though those are typically safer, provide better service and can even cost less than trying to make a project fit along a busy road. This bill would allow impact fees to be spent to construct and maintain infrastructure intended specifically for bicycle riders and pedestrians.

The bill would not add any new fees or increase any current fees – it would only expand the allowable use of current fees to additional types of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

The bill now heads to the House for consideration.