Move Ahead Washington, the $16 billion transportation revenue package passed tonight by the Senate, would fully fund safety and widening improvements to Highway 18 over Tiger Mountain and several other projects to improve travel in and around communities in the 5th Legislative District.
“Just a few weeks ago, a bad collision on Highway 18 reminded us of the urgent need to complete the work to this critical throughway safer for everyone who travels it,” said Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah). “This transportation package will do that, and it will do it without raising the gas tax.”
As a member of the legislative team that negotiated the package, Mullet insisted on legislation that does not require any increase in the gas tax and relies instead on surpluses in the operating budget and on federal transportation funds.
“There are too many commuters stuck in gridlock and misery trying to get to and from work every day, and this will only get worse as more people move to our region unless we improve our roads,” Mullet said. “We need a new revenue package to keep traffic moving safely and smoothly, but we also need to make sure we fund it the right way.”
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 will also correct more than 30 fish barriers or culverts, a costly but critical means of improving salmon health.
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. SB 5974, which was passed today, authorizes the funding for the transportation package. SB 5975, which has been referred to the Senate Transportation Committee, enumerates the projects. More information can be found here.