AGC calls for state transportation package
AGC of Washington and dozens of entities from business, labor and the environment community have cosigned a letter to the Legislature urging passage of a comprehensive transportation funding package.
“Based on the most recent revenue forecast, the State’s Transportation budget has a projected shortfall of $758 million for the next three years,” the letter said. “To address that issue, to support the full reopening of our economy as well as spur economic activity and support local jobs, we urge the Legislature to pass a comprehensive transportation funding package in 2021.”
Sen. Steve Hobbs, Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, and Rep. Jake Fey, Chair of the House Transportation Committee, are currently finalizing their own proposal to put before the Legislature.
The Association of Washington Business (AWB), Washington Building Trades and Washington Conservation Voters were among the groups joining AGC in signing the letter, which was spearheaded by the Keep Washington Rolling coalition.
The coalition outlined several priorities the Legislature should consider when considering a transportation package.
• Prioritization of maintenance and preservation projects. We have a significant backlog of deferred maintenance projects that threaten the reliability and safety of our transportation system. WSDOT estimates that the cost to preserve the State transportation system at the minimum acceptable level is $8.1 billion over the next ten years. Increasing funding for maintenance and preservation projects not only improves the system but also benefits local communities throughout the state. Through these investments we have the opportunity to stimulate the economy and support local jobs.
• Critical projects. There is an ongoing need for important projects such as replacements for the current I-5 bridge over the Columbia River, the Highway 2 trestle, the West Seattle Bridge and other projects necessary to meet transportation policy goals.
• Culverts. The need to fund removal of fish passage barriers is not an option, it is a legal obligation mandated by a federal court order of approximately $3.4 billion between 2021 and 2030. • Invest in a strong interconnected multimodal transportation system. Ensuring the continuity and completion of our multimodal systems around the state is paramount for our essential workers, most vulnerable populations, and the post-pandemic workforce. State investments in transit, bike and pedestrian service and capital needs will be necessary to facilitate a strong economic recovery by creating jobs and assisting workers to return to their work sites.
• Finish what we’ve started. In 2015, the Legislature adopted Connecting Washington – a $16 billion, 16-year transportation investment plan, multimodal investments and projects in key economic corridors. Many of those projects are already underway or set to begin soon. We should prioritize keeping those projects on track and protecting the jobs they support.
• Include new revenue streams. We understand that new revenue streams will likely be necessary in any new transportation package. We look forward to working through these options with you.
For more information, contact AGC Chief Lobbyist Jerry VanderWood, 360.352.5000.