Current-law transportation budget funds 520, tunnel, preservation

It’s not the $15 billion comprehensive transportation funding package that AGC is pushing for but the Legislature recently passed the 2015-1017 “current law” budget which will fund a few projects insert some money into preservation and maintenance and prevent a shutdown of existing projects once the fiscal year ends June 30.

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The bill (HB 1299) passed the House with a bipartisan 74-20 vote and unanimously by the Senate. A summary of the bill can be found here.

Photo: Bob Adams senior vice president of Atkinson Construction (left) explains to Gov. Jay Inslee the challenges of constructing a new northbound Puyallup River Bridge. With Adams and Gov. Inslee is WSDOT Olympic Region Administrator Kevin Dayton. Project details can be found here. Photo courtesy WSDOT.

Meanwhile Gov. Jay Inslee is making a strong public push for a new comprehensive funding package. On a tour of the Puyallup River Bridge replacement project Inslee said the Legislature needs to pass a transportation-improvement package to fund repairs of severely outdated bridges like the historic structure. “We’ve got a lot of old bridges to be put out to pasture” he said. The tour was hosted by WSDOT and Bob Adams of Atkinson Construction.

The current law or “bare bones” budget provides about $252 million to repave 2100 miles of roadway. For bridges $145 million is provided to start continue and/or complete work on about 50 bridges including painting deck replacement column repair and structural replacement.

To address fish-passage barriers the proposal provides $70 million to begin construction on about 20 culverts. The funding will allow completion of about 13 culverts.

Major highway work anticipated in the next biennium includes:

  • Construction of a new six-lane State Route 520 (SR 520) floating bridge and some of the associated work on the west side of the bridge ($379 million);
  • Completion of the SR 99 tunnel replacement for the Alaskan Way Viaduct and completion of design and permitting work on other aspects including the demolition of the Viaduct ($640 million);
  • Commencing construction of the next two miles of the widening of I-90 from the Keechelus Dam to the Stampede Pass interchange vicinity including the construction of a wildlife overcrossing ($108 million);
  • Completion of several projects associated with the US 395/North Spokane Corridor development including the relocation of the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe (BNSF) mainline from Freya Street to Rowan Street and the grading from Spokane River to Francis Avenue ($36 million); and
  • Completion of parts of the Interstate 5 (I-5) high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes in Tacoma including from M Street to Portland Avenue ($275 million).

“This budget is about keeping the promises that we made to voters when they approved the last two gas tax increases” said House Transportation Committee Chair Judy Clibborn (D-41). “Almost 90 percent of projects are now complete and this budget moves us forward by continuing work on the few that remain.”

The Governor has called the Legislature into a second special session to complete work on the operating and capital budgets as well as the comprehensive transportation package.

For more information contact AGC’s Chief Lobbyist Jerry VanderWood 360.352.5000.