Washington State Puts a 16-Year Transportation Budget in Action
July 15, 2015—Gov. Jay Inslee today signed a bipartisan transportation investment package that will create an estimated 200,000 jobs and address critical safety, maintenance and congestion needs all across Washington.
The 16-year, $16 billion “Connecting Washington” package includes:
- $8.8 billion for road and safety projects including megaprojects such as SR 520 bridge, the North Spokane Corridor, SR 167/SR 509 Gateway Project, and widening of I-5 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
- $1.4 billion for highway maintenance and preservation.
- $1.3 billion for non-highway projects such as bike paths, rail and transit.
- $602 million for ferries including a fourth Olympic Class Ferry Vessel.
- Other investments related to fish barrier removal, bridge preservation, freight rail improvements, electric vehicle and alternative fuel tax credits and commute trip reduction programs.
The package also authorizes Sound Transit to seek voter-approval for $15 billion to extend light rail as far north as Everett and as far south as Tacoma.
The governor, who noted in his inaugural speech within hours of being sworn in that passage of a transportation package was a top priority, said Connecting Washington will benefit people and businesses in every part of the state.
“I laid out a transportation vision for our state in which transportation truly works as a system. No more east versus west. No more urban versus rural. No more roads versus transit,” Inslee said. “This package represents the largest single investment in transportation in state history. I appreciate the hard work legislators on both sides of the aisle put into crafting a package that will maximize these dollars so we can grow jobs, improve safety and provide commuters more choices all throughout Washington.”
The governor rolled out a comprehensive proposal in December 2014 that helped revive negotiations for the 2015 legislative session. Projects and investments will be funded largely by additional gas tax revenue with a 7-cent increase starting August 1, 2015 and a 4.9-cent increase July 1, 2016. In addition to the many construction benefits, the package includes reforms that will increase accountability and ensure projects are delivered on time and on budget.
“This is a big win for Washington and the result of productive bipartisan collaboration,” said Maud Daudon, president and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. “The leadership shown by Governor Inslee and legislators means we now can move ahead on critical investments that will help Washington’s economy thrive.”