Senate Proposes $12B Transportation Package

In a bit of a surprise the State Senate’s Majority Coalition Caucus (comprised of all 23 Republicans and two Democrats) recently proposed a comprehensive transportation-funding package that would increase transportation spending by more than $12 billion.
While the Senate proposal ups the ante compared to the funding contained in the version passed by the House earlier this year the Senate proposal also contains reforms some of which have already garnered opposition by the Governor unions and environmentalists.

AGC believes that having a Senate transportation proposal is a major step toward enactment.

“This significant and serious proposal is a welcome step toward enactment of a proposal that will improve our transportation system and promote economic growth” said AGC President Butch Brooks Brooks Construction Management in a letter to Senate Transportation Committee Chair Curtis King. “Most citizens understand that transportation perhaps moreso than all other categories of government spending other than education is an investment that pays dividends for our economy and quality of life.  We are pleased therefore with the commitment this proposal makes to highway preservation and maintenance and to fully funding vital projects such as SR 167/509 and the North-South corridor in Spokane.”

The Senate proposal includes a phased-in 11.5-cent per-gallon gas-tax increase (the House bill included a 10.5-cent increase). The gas-tax increase combined with other fees and bonding authority would bring spending to about $12.3 billion. Here’s the list of revenues and expenditures.

It would avoid the tolling of I-90 to help pay for construction of the Highway 520 floating bridge — by allocating $1.3 billion from new gas taxes toward the Highway 520 account. The biggest project is still $1.66 billion for extensions of Highways 509 and 167 between Seattle and Tacoma which are freight routes between seaports warehouses and airports. There’s also $1.3 billion to widen I-405 $750 million for the North Spokane freeway $390 million for Snoqualmie Pass East $350 million for highways around Joint Base Lewis-McChord $219 million to rebuild the Seattle ferry terminal at Colman Dock and $1.05 billion toward maintenance. Here’s the project list.

Among the reforms sought in the proposal are the elimination of the sales tax on transportation projects use of hazardous waste taxes (rather than WSDOT funds) for stormwater-drainage projects easing of apprenticeship rules on certain projects and more. Here’s the list of reforms sought by the Coalition.

For more information contact AGC’s Chief Lobbyist and General Counsel Van Collins 360.352.5000.