Traffic Camera Revenues to Fund Capacity-Building Programs in Washington State

Revenue from Washington's traffic enforcement cameras will go in part toward efforts to assist small communities in applying for grants and accessing funding opportunities.

January 18, 2022, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Bus Stop and Bike Lane

Green Lane Project / Flickr

Revenue from Seattle's traffic camera program earmarked for "bicycle, pedestrian, and nonmotorist safety improvements" will likely go toward capacity-building efforts geared at helping communities apply for grants and acquire funding for bike and pedestrian projects. As Ryan Packer reports, Washington's Traffic Safety Commission has proposed the plan as an alternative to using the funding to benefit a minimal number of individual projects. 

According to a report from Washington DOT, "jurisdictions around the state are either unaware of the funding available from these programs, or lack knowledge of best practices around submitting an application." The plan aims to enable communities to submit strong applications and ensure they are aware of potential opportunities, which will serve to build institutional knowledge and financial resilience into the future.

WSDOT Director of Active Transportation Barb Chamberlain points out the highly competitive nature of the state's grants, calling for more funding from the state legislature for grant programs like Safe Routes to School. Since 2005, just 25 percent of applications for bike and pedestrian programs were funded. As the article states, "According to WSDOT, since 2005, only 45%, or 121, of the 281 incorporated cities and towns in Washington have received funding through the programs." 

The source article details the governor's proposed budget increases and projected revenue from automated traffic enforcement, which Packer calls a "vital tool" for reimagining traffic enforcement and reducing police interactions.

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