It’s not the $15 billion comprehensive transportation funding package that AGC of Washington is pushing for, but the Legislature recently passed the 2015-1017 “current law” budget that 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.
The bill (HB 1299) passed the House with a bipartisan 74-20 vote, and unanimously by the Senate.
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project, Inslee said the Legislature needs to pass a transportation-improvement package to fund repairs of severely outdated bridges like the historic structure.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 2,100 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:
“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.