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AGC Testifies in Support of Senate Transportation-Funding Measure

The Senate proposal includes a phased-in 11.5-cent per-gallon gas-tax increase (the House-passed 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.

“The commitments for funding preservation of the transportation system while less than we had hoped for is nevertheless a significant step in the right direction and gets he state on-track for preserving our critical transportation infrastructure” AGC lobbyist Duke Schaub told the Senate Transportation Committee. “In addition the proposed investments in our freight corridors and fully funding many of the major mega-projects that are either already underway or that need to get started will kick-start the construction-industry economy and the thousands of jobs that will be maintained or created by these vital projects.”

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 $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.

AGC cautioned about an element of the Senate package however. A draft proposal would authorize the use of the GC/CM procurement method allowing for no-bid contracts which could be fully negotiated. “This would be a first for Washington and would depart from a long history of open and transparent bidding as the basis for letting contracts” testified AGC Chief Lobbyist Van Collins. “We are concerned whether this proposal would hurt the ability of smaller- to medium-sized companies to compete for state highway work.”

Governor Jay Inslee called a special session in the hope that the House and Senate could reach an agreement on a final transportation package. However it is becoming increasingly likely that the issue won’t be resolved at least until the new Legislature convenes in January.

For more information about the transportation legislation contact Van Collins 360.352.5000.

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