Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a transportation investment package of bills that will fund transportation projects over a 16-year period at a cost of $16 billion. Dubbed “Connecting Washington”, the program is estimated to create 200,000 jobs.
Most of the funding will come from a two-tier gas tax increase. The tax will rise 7 cents per gallon August 1 this year, and will jump again July 1 next year by 4.9 cents per gallon.
The largest portion will be dedicated to road and safety projects for the SR 520 bridge, the North Spokane Corridor, the SR 167/SR 509 Gateway Project and the widening of Interstate 5 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. These projects total $8.8 billion in investments. Highway maintenance and preservation projects will receive $1.4 billion.
The remaining funds are dedicated to rail and transit, ferries, and ancillary projects, such as electric vehicle and alternative fuel tax credits, commute trip reduction and freight rail improvements.
“This package represents the largest single investment in transportation in state history,” Inslee said. “I appreciate the hard work legislators on both sides of the aisle put into crafting a package that will maximize these dollars so we can grow jobs, improve safety and provide commuters more choices all throughout Washington.”
“With Connecting Washington, Governor Inslee and legislators are making substantial investments in enhancing and maintaining our transportation system,” Washington State Department of Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson said. “This critical investment in our transportation system enables us to better fulfill this mission and improve our multimodal transportation system for the people we serve. We stand ready to deliver our Connecting Washington projects, and to work with our communities and partners to grow the capacity of our multimodal system.”