Senate Releases Proposed 2017-19 Transportation Budget
The Senate released its nearly $8.7 billion spending plan for the 2017-19 biennium today. The plan includes an increase of $166 million over the February 2016 forecast. The budget provides $9.7 million for 2017-19 along with $25.1 million in direct distributions to counties that was adopted under the Connecting Washington Act in 2015. These funds are in addition to funds distributed to counties and to the County Road Administration Board through regular gas-tax distribution formulas.
The budget also provides funding from Connecting Washington to the Transportation Improvement Board ($9.7 million for 2017-19), complete streets grants ($14.7 million), regional mobility grants ($27.7 million), rural mobility grants ($15.2 million), vanpool and transit coordination grants ($6.3 million), and $17 million for freight mobility grants. The bulk of the proposed budget goes to projects programmed with Connecting Washington Program funds, along with completion of the remaining projects funded under the Nickel package, and the Transportation Partnership Act.
The budget also appropriates $43.8 million in new federal freight funds for projects identified and prioritized by the Washington State Freight Advisory Committee. The budget requires the projects to be validated by the Washington State Department of Transportation working with the freight advisory committee. The prioritized list of freight projects can be found here.The Senate budget differed from the Governor’s proposed budget by not providing funding requested for a new 144-car ferry. The budget continues with funding for the Mukilteo ferry terminal and the Seattle ferry terminal.
The Governor’s proposed funding for congestion management on SR 167 and I-405 widening also was not included in the Senate budget. The budget will be heard on Tuesday, March 21, and is expected to be voted out of committee and over to the House this week to start negotiations.