Wednesday, May 16, 2007

State Budget Round-Up

Submitted by Paul Ellis

Kudos to The News Tribune, which today publicized highlights of the $7.5 billion Washington State transportation budget for 2007-09:
  • Earmarks $199 million to continue building car-pool lanes on I-5 from the Tacoma Mall to Fife and to rebuild the Nalley Valley Viaduct at SR-16--most work will be done between 2009 and 2013 at a total cost of $1.4 billion;
  • Appropriates the final $142 million of the $849 million for the second Tacoma Narrows Bridge;
  • Sets up a $5 million line of credit in case first-year tolls on the new bridge don’t raise enough money to make loan payments;
  • Allocates half of the $25 million to widen SR-161 (North Meridian) from Jovita Boulevard to 24th St.--the rest of this work will be done in the 2009-11 budget cycle;
  • Identifies $52.3 million for the Point Defiance Bypass, a project that will reroute Amtrak and freight railroad tracks through South Tacoma into the Port of Tacoma instead of around the park;
  • Gives $3.7 million to Sound Transit to expand Sounder commuter rail parking in Puyallup, Sumner and Auburn;
  • Reauthorizes $2 million for the LeMay Car Museum;
  • Appropriates $7 million of the $15 million needed to replace the Puyallup River Bridge on SR-162;
  • Designates $665,000 of the $4 million needed to build a rest area in Elbe on SR-7;
  • Allocates $6.5 million to repave SR-7 between the Eatonville Cutoff Road and SR-507;
  • Funds cameras in construction zones;
  • Sets a $2.8 billion limit on how much the state will spend to replace Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct;
  • Appropriates $132 million for the extension of SR-167 between the Port of Tacoma and Puyallup, with $40 million of that money dependant upon a container tax or port-related fee of some sort;
  • Sets aside $19 million toward the proposed Cross-Base Highway (SR-704) between I-5 and Frederickson;
  • Allows a 2.5 percent increase in ferry fares next month, then freezes fares until Sept. 1, 2009, while a fare study is conducted;
  • Lends $3.9 million to the Regional Transportation Investment District in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties for the joint election in November;
  • Completes funding for the “HOT” lane program on SR-167 for a 9-mile stretch between Auburn and Renton.

Most of these expenditures were supported by RAMP this session--all should be familiar to RAMP participants.

Paul Ellis is lead staff for RAMP; an employee of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, Ellis led the Pierce County Transportation Advisory Committee (PCTAC), the community’s largest transportation planning effort.

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