Dear friends and neighbors,

You’ve probably read stories about the issues in our state transportation system right now. We’ve been seeing bids on all our big projects come in over budget from contractors, our construction of new ferries has been delayed, and I worry that our transportation leaders are going to have some really difficult choices to make in the next few years. Personally, I’ve campaigned for twelve years to get the Highway 18 interchange and expansion built and I don’t want to see it delayed one day further than necessary.

I’ve got an idea for how to keep things on track. One of my responsibilities in the Senate is being the Senate representative on the State Investment Board, overseeing how our pension funds invest more than $180 billion. There’s great news – we’ve invested well coming out of the pandemic, and the State Investment Board has generated billions of dollars in above average returns. Because of these extraordinary returns, we don’t have to contribute as much as normal in payments to our pension funds, freeing up new money over the next decade. Rather than keeping it all in the general fund like we normally would, SB 6311 would split this new money 50/50 between the operating budget and the transportation budget, so we can help keep our transportation investments on track in this high inflationary environment.

A lot of people have floated the idea of moving money out of the operating budget to the transportation budget, but my idea is unique because it only involves new money. This plan doesn’t involve any money that’s already been committed to something else and causing cuts. If this bill were to pass, it would send billions of dollars to our state transportation budget in the next decade to make sure we have roads and bridges that work, ferries that work, and transit that works.

I think we need to think holistically about our budgets and how to best serve the people of Washington. If we need more money for transportation, let’s send some new money there. As a small business owner, this is normal to me. During the pandemic, one of my restaurants in Bellevue Square had to stay closed much longer than my restaurant in Issaquah and it lost more money as a result. It would have been silly to let one restaurant go under while another did great – so I moved money around to keep both afloat and everyone employed. The state can do the same.

I think this is the right way to keep our transportation budget moving and make sure we can deliver Highway 18 and finish the 520 bridge. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens!

As always, thanks for reading, and feel free to reach out any time at Thanks so much and talk to you again soon!

Sen. Mark Mullet