The transportation revenue package passed today by the Senate Transportation Committee includes $450 million toward a new I-5 bridge, Sen. Annette Cleveland (D-Vancouver) said today. The package now goes to the Senate Rules Committee for consideration there before it can go to the floor for a full vote of the Senate.
“This is another concrete step toward getting this project moving while we work with Oregon to design a planning process and determine the details of a new bridge,” Cleveland said. “This is only a down payment on what a new bridge will cost, of course, but we anticipate funding from other avenues, including our federal and Oregon state partners once we agree on a mutual vision for the new bridge.”
The funding in the revenue package comes in addition to $17.5 million Gov. Jay Inslee identified in his proposed budget for the 2019-20 biennium, and Cleveland was able to secure in the Senate’s proposed transportation budget. That money would fund a project office to restart the process of designing and building a new bridge, reaffirm Washington’s ongoing commitment to our other partners, and avoid repayment of $140 million in federal funds due this fall if Washington and Oregon fail to restart efforts to build a new I-5 bridge.
In 2013, Washington’s failure to pass legislation approving the two states’ joint Columbia River Crossing project cost the states an additional $850 million in federal transit funds that had been allocated for a new bridge. That money was then re-allocated for transportation projects in other states.
A bipartisan coalition of Southwest Washington state legislators has collaborated in recent years to restart the effort to build a new bridge. That group consists of Cleveland, Sens. Ann Rivers and Lynda Wilson, and Reps. Sharon Wylie, Monica Stonier, Paul Harris and Brandon Vick and was recently joined by Rep. Larry Hoff.