Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gregoire Releases Transportation Budget Proposal

Today outgoing Governor Chris Gregoire released her final budget proposal for the state legislature, which included a transportation budget proposal.

Gregoire highlighted transportation as “the backbone of our economy,” noting that the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma transport “99.7 percent of the state’s international container traffic.” The proposal also said that transportation projects provide much needed jobs while ensuring reliability for businesses to move goods and employees.

The proposal suggested investing in eight important transportation projects, of which two are located in Pierce County: State Route 167 Tacoma to Puyallup new corridor and Interstate 5/ Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

SR 167 was described as a “critical missing link in the state highway network.” The project was estimated at costing $1.5 billion.

Likewise, I5/ JBLM was noted as being a “critical economic lifeline for Washington and the Pacific Northwest” and a “backbone of connectivity to the ports of Tacoma, Seattle, and Olympia.” This project was cited as costing $820 million.

The proposal, unfortunately, did not include a revenue package that would fund SR 167, I5/ JBLM, or any other transportation project. Instead, Gregoire proposed an excise tax on gasoline and diesel projected at $1 billion to fund K-12 student transportation services, calling into question how these transportation projects so vital to our economy will be funded.

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