Sandy Williams Connecting Communities Program
Learn how we are making walking, bicycling, and rolling more comfortable and welcoming in overburdened communities along state highways.
The Sandy Williams Connecting Communities Program (SWCCP) was established to improve active transportation connectivity for people walking, biking, and rolling along and across current and former state highways. The program focuses on communities with high equity needs, which are those most affected by environmental health disparities and barriers to opportunities. The program name honors Sandy Williams, a community activist who worked tirelessly to reconnect her African American neighborhood after the construction of Interstate 90 through Spokane split it in half. The SWCCP can fund projects such as walkways, bikeways, trails, crossings, and neighborhood greenways in any project phase from planning through construction. The program reaches out and selects projects in locations prioritized based on legislative requirements; no grant applications are required.
You can learn more about Sandy Williams and the journey to creating the SWCCP in our online storymap. As part of the Move Ahead Washington transportation package, approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Inslee in March 2022, $50 million was allocated over five years to:
- Repair transportation inequities by directing investments to environmentally overburdened, low-wealth, and disinvested communities
- Improve access to community destinations and services
- Provide contracting opportunities for Communities of Color and women, -owned businesses and community-based organizations
Once awarded, SWCCP funds can be leveraged as local match funding for federal funds including RAISE grants, Safe Streets for All grants, Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program grants, and WSDOT-administered federal funding sources. Additionally, funds can bring resources to projects where state agencies such as the Transportation Improvement Board (TIB), regional, or local funding cannot fully meet needs.
In its first two years, SWCCP dedicated $25 million to 25 projects across the state and launched the program. Explore our interactive online storymap to learn more about the intention behind The Sandy Williams Connecting Communities Program.
The program selects projects in locations prioritized based on legislative requirements; no grant applications are required. To identify projects, WSDOT used public input gathered through local planning efforts and focused on communities with high equity needs. Given the program’s emphasis on addressing barriers created by state highways, several projects will be led by WSDOT regions in partnership with communities and tribes.
Subsequent years of the program will offer more opportunities to help grantee jurisdictions work with diverse community members to identify and develop projects. Outreach strategies will reflect best practices for equitable engagement and community benefits, including equitable contracting opportunities.
Climate Commitment Act
The Sandy Williams Connecting Communities Program is supported with funding from Washington’s Climate Commitment Act. The CCA supports Washington’s climate action efforts by putting cap-and -invest dollars to work reducing climate pollution, creating jobs and improving public health. Information about the CCA is available at www.climate.wa.gov.