Legislature passes transportation budget in final days of regular session: $8.5 billion appropriated over biennium

In the last week of the regular session, lawmakers agreed to a state transportation budget, a bipartisan accomplishment deserving more attention. The budget, SB 5096, appropriates $8.5 billion over the 2017-2019 biennium.

In an email, Association of Washington Business Government Affairs Director for Transportation & Environmental Policy, Michael Ennis writes that the budget

  • Appropriates about $8.5 billion over the next two years.
  • Spends $4.2 billion in the various capital programs.
  • Shifts $60 million of additional TPA funds to help fill the $149 million cost overrun on the Alaska Way Viaduct Deep Bore Tunnel project.
  • Maintains the Connecting Washington package and only makes minor modifications by advancing some funding on five projects to earlier years.
  • Adds $162 million to existing fish passage barrier funding. The planned spending for these projects averages about $90 million per biennium through 2033, still far short of the $2.4 billion estimated total need.
  • Funds several studies, including: Board of Pilotage, I-405 Toll Data, Air Cargo, Role of the WTC, and alignment of an Ultra High Speed Rail line between Vancouver BC and Portland OR.

For those who want more detail, he provides links to the relevant documents:

Conference Committee Report and Striker
House/Senate Budget Comparison Reports
LEAP Transportation Document 2017-1: Highway Projects Partnership Acct Projects (dated 04/20/2017) 
LEAP Transportation Document 2017-2: All Projects (dated 04/20/2017)

We strongly supported the 2015 Connecting Washington comprehensive transportation investment package. The 2017-2019 transportation budget will be the first  biennium of full funding for that legislation.