Traffic congestion is on everyone’s mind – and it has a real effect on our quality of life. People must be able to get home efficiently to see their families and enjoy their community spaces. Investing in transportation choices and in infrastructure improvements will ensure that people are spending less time in traffic and that our city is on a path to a greener and healthier future. Gael has been a tireless advocate to bring better transit service to the 36th district. Her infrastructure accomplishments include:
- Getting $10 million into the 2015 Transportation Revenue Package to expand bus transit on north-south and east-west transit corridors throughout the 36th and 43rd districts, especially to expand access to the highest concentration of low-income housing units along the Greenwood Ave corridor. These routes include Greenwood, to Ballard, Ballard to UW, and Ballard to downtown Seattle and serve more than 2.3 million riders/year.
- Ensuring that the State Transportation annual budgets have included millions of dollars for expanded King County Metro bus transit on the Viaduct during construction of the tunnel so that we reduce car congestion on Highway 99.
- Supporting Sound Transit 3’s authority to collect property, MVET, and sales taxes in order build passenger rail throughout the Puget Sound region and into Ballard – at last. To match Seattle’s booming growth, we need a new web of infrastructure to move residents quickly, safely, and efficiently. These are vital investments in our future mobility, livability, and economic vitality.
Our 36th District neighborhoods all have public places where communities gather. Gael has visited with dozens of community members to identify “community infrastructure” that needs State financial support to make these places safe and accessible. She has advocated for capital projects to build and sustain essential community investments, including:
- Gael secured funding to renovate the Phinney Ridge Community Center. The Center now boasts a new elevator for disabled person access. Now more of our community can more readily participate in community activities hosted at the Center.
- To protect our salmon and increase public awareness about the life cycle of our wild salmon, Gael worked to renovate the Fish Ladder at Ballard Locks. As part of a $500,000 renovation package with public and private funding, the Visitor’s Center and Fish Ladder Viewing Room are getting a long-overdue remodel to better serve the more than 1.2 million visitors annually that come to watch the boats go through the locks and the salmon climb the fish ladder as they head to their spawning grounds.
- $1 million for KEXP’s new studio/community gathering space at the northwest corner entrance to the Seattle Center means that world-class music and live productions will be accessible to everyone who passes by.
Our region is beautiful, but it is also uniquely prone to natural disasters. Gael is a strong and trusted advocate in Olympia to help the public understand these risks, take preparations to mitigate them, and help communities prepare for catastrophic events. She is fighting for funding for the State geologist to assess risks to critical state infrastructure from earthquakes and other natural disasters. Some of her recent successes in protecting our community include:
- Funding for a new roof, re-wiring and seismic retrofits at Small Faces Childcare Center. The facility is now up to code. We must ensure all our children are safe and protected from buildings at risk to earthquake-related damages.
- The Washington State Armory building in Interbay may sit on a seismic fault line. Gael initiated and got funding for a two-year community-stakeholder effort – scheduled to start work later in 2018 – to evaluate the risks and investigate a potential move for the Armory. The group will also analyze industrial land use adjacent to the Armory, Port of Seattle, and BNSF rail facilities to ensure that our critical industrial spaces are protected and used efficiently.
- Gael established the Economic and Community Resilience Caucus with colleagues from the House and Senate, in an effort to develop legislative priorities to protect our communities and accelerate their recovery from disasters.
- Gael won a coveted appointment to serve on the Pacific Northwest Economic Region’s Advisory Board, where she was elected as Vice President. She continues to strengthen local and state maritime security relationships between the U.S. Coast Guard and Canadian authorities.
- Gael is the prime sponsor of HB 2580, creating a maritime and manufacturing legislative task force that will assess the resilience of our infrastructure to recover jobs, trade, and economic opportunities.
- Gael has built lines of communication and coordination with the Washington Emergency Management Association; the Washington Military Department; the U.S. Coast Guard’s Area Maritime Security Committee in Puget Sound; Pacific NW Economic Region; and the University of Washington to build a robust network of maritime security and resilience professionals.
- During her 5-year tenure as Port Commissioner, Gael’s previous experience protecting our nation’s ports from nuclear, biochemical and natural disasters helped move the Port in a new direction as it dealt with its own long-term goals. Now, the Port is a regional partner leading the way in protecting our airport and our seaport while also combating national issues like human trafficking.