Transportation budgets un-pause WSDOT projects
After passage of Initiative 976, which resulted in significant cuts to WSDOT funding, Governor Inslee directed WSDOT to postpone projects not yet underway, in order to provide the Legislature more funding flexibility as they determined how to amend the 2019-21 transportation budget to implement I-976.
Now, the House and Senate are moving supplemental transportation budgets that will allow Gov. Inslee to proceed with the paused highway projects.
The Senate transportation budget counts on accruing savings from projects that wound up costing less or from re-appropriations that didn’t get spent last biennium. Also, expenditure authority for most agencies was reduced a little to free up additional one-time dollars.
In the House budget, there is a bit of pain too. The House plan, for example, saves $25 million by pushing a half-dozen rail capital projects into the 2021-23 biennium. These are mostly on the east side of the state. Another $36 million is freed up by delaying various state public transportation program grants to the 2021-23 biennium.
AGC testified in support of both budgets because they met AGC objectives of not only releasing the projects, but also maintaining funding for preservation, maintenance and culverts.
Differences between the two budgets will have to be ironed out. But no hang-ups are expected, and final passage should occur before the Legislature’s March 12 adjournment date.
For more information, contact AGC Chief Lobbyist Jerry VanderWood, 360.352.5000.