Last week, the Senate Transportation Committee in the Washington State Legislature released a transportation $15 billion transportation package along with an incremental 11.7 cent gas tax increase over three years. It is a complex package including 11 bills total, including eight reform bills, a bond bill, a revenue bill and a spending bill. The lawmakers described the package as a compromise, which is ready for public discussion and dissection.
The package proposes funding for specific projects, including enough funding to complete the entire 15-mile I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project. The package provides just over $426 million to the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project to fund the remaining eight miles including a series of wildlife underpasses and a wildlife overpass at Easton Island. The dollar figure accounts for the anticipated inflation over the duration of this package from passage to project construction. This funding level is an increase over the amount that was included for the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project in the Governor’s transportation proposal Lets Move Forward late last year.
Thanks to the leadership of Senator Curtis King and Representative Judy Clibborn, Interstate 90 has been recognized as a high priority in transportation discussions to date as the major east-west transportation corridor in our state. They worked with project supporters to ensure that savings from the construction of Phase 1 of the project were kept on the project to keep it moving forward, which provided funding for Phase 2A that breaks ground later this year (and includes the first wildlife overpass). We hope they continue to work together as these transportation packages are discussed and evolve to ensure that the funding level in the Senate proposal to complete the I-90 project is upheld.