Move Ahead Washington, the transportation revenue package introduced Monday by Senate and House Democrats, would fund a range of projects to improve travel in and around communities in the 5th Legislative District.
“I’m a big fan of this transportation package for two reasons: it will give us the funds to finish Highway 18 and it will do it without raising the gas tax,” said Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah). “As a member of the legislative team that negotiated this package, I fought hard for legislation that does not require any increase in the gas tax and relies instead on surpluses in the operating budget and on federal transportation support.”
A head-on collision that closed Highway 18 on the very first day of the 2022 legislative session underscored the need to complete improvements to that and other critical roads around the state, Mullet said.
“We need a new revenue package to make sure our transportation system is able to remain functional as more people move to our region,” he said. “Doing nothing will guarantee gridlock and misery as we try to commute to work for the next decade.”
The $640 million allocation to widen Highway 18 and complete the interchange with Interstate 90 will improve flow, relieve congestion, increase safety, and reduce travel times on I-90, Highway 18 and the Snoqualmie Parkway, Mullet said. The project also will shift freight traffic from local streets by relocating a weigh station. Initially scheduled to be completed in 2029, the finish date was accelerated to 2023 in the 2017 legislative session before recent effects of the pandemic pushed it into 2024.
“This revenue package isn’t as large as in past years because it doesn’t increase gas taxes or require bonding,” Mullet said, “We struck a balance between keeping costs down while still addressing our biggest and most urgent transportation needs.”
Other important area projects funded in the package include:
- $5 million for Snoqualmie Parkway resurfacing to extend the life of the road and address damage caused by regional truck traffic; and
- $5 million for the Maple Valley Pedestrian Bridge over SR 169 to provide a vital pedestrian connection to the Maple Valley Farmer’s Market, future Legacy Site, and regional trail system.
Beyond that, the package provides millions in funding to maintain and preserve existing roads in communities in the district and across the state.