OLYMPIA – Sen. Steve Hobbs has reintroduced and will hold a public hearing today at 10 a.m. for his Forward Washington transportation investment plan.
Hobbs’ plan will inject badly needed funding into transportation projects big and small in communities throughout the state. It will prioritize investments in transit, bike and pedestrian projects, maintenance and preservation, fish passage improvements, and the electrification of the state’s ferry fleet among other environmental priorities to support a sustainable transportation system across Washington.
“In terms of fish culvert remediation and stormwater cleanup and badly needed repairs to our crumbling infrastructure, Forward Washington provides an essential shot of economic activity into every corner of Washington,” Hobbs said. “Most importantly, we’re looking at the creation of thousands of family wage jobs.”
Some of the plan’s investments include:
- Funding for the well past due replacement of the I-5 Columbia River Bridge.
- Funding for a rebuild of the US 2 Trestle in Snohomish County.
- Widening of SR 18 near Auburn to provide additional capacity, improve safety, and reduce existing congestion.
- Funding for SR 3/Gorst Area on the Kitsap Peninsula for safety improvements including elevating the roadway through Gorst, replacing the Navy’s railroad crossing of SR 3, and completing associated fish passage work.
- Increased investments for special needs transit, rural mobility grants, commute trip reduction, transit fare reduction, as well as increased bike and pedestrian accessibility.
- Billions in much needed maintenance and preservation work including numerous investments for repairs to roads, highways and bridges throughout the state. A complete proposed project list can be found here.
Environmental investments include:
- Storm water cleanup, the No. 1 source of pollution in Puget Sound.
- Electrification of the state’s ferry vessels along with terminal and grid upgrades resulting in reduced carbon and noise pollution.
- Fish culvert replacements using a watershed approach for $1.8B.
- Electrical grid upgrade funding, grants to transit authorities to convert to electric buses and bus facility grants to provide increased charging capacity.
Forward Washington is a 16-year, $17.8 billion transportation investment plan, partially funded through Sen. Reuven Carlyle’s cap and invest program, SB 5126, which passed the Senate on Thursday. The plan also counts on a 9.8 cent gas tax, a statewide transportation benefit assessment, a shift of the car sales and use tax on EVs/Hybrids (starting in 2026), and other vehicle and licensing fees.
It is estimated that an infrastructure investment of this size would create approximately 18,000 family wage jobs throughout Washington per year.
“Forward Washington means foundational and historic change for people across our state,” Hobbs said. “These investments would provide Washingtonians with a cleaner environment, improved transit options, safer roads and bridges and a 21st century infrastructure that will make our state more competitive and our economy more resilient.”