Dear friends and neighbors,
There is less than a month remaining in this year’s 60-day legislative session and we’ve had some exciting developments in recent days with the introduction of a new transportation funding package called Move Ahead Washington. This proposal is possible in part due to infrastructure investments from Congress and an unexpectedly robust state revenue collection in 2021. In this newsletter, I’ll highlight the projects in our district included in the plan. It still has a long way to go to get to the governor’s desk and become law, but this is a crucial first step and I’m hopeful we can start to address Kitsap’s urgent transportation needs this year.
For residents in the 23rd District and other Puget Sound communities dependent on reliable ferry service, the last few years have been frustrating as service disruptions have upended our lives. Thanks to your strong voice for change, the package includes several key investments to strengthen Washington’s ferry system, in one of the largest transportation proposals for ferry improvements in recent history:
- $1.3 billion to complete four new hybrid-electric vessels, replacing aging vessels and helping to reduce fuel costs and air, water, and noise pollution
- $193 million to electrify and retrofit vessels and terminals, including two jumbo vessel conversions
- $350 million to support operations and rebuild a strong, reliable workforce
- $160 million to make repairs and preserve older vessels in the fleet
- $6.5 million for Kitsap Transit’s all-electric Fast Foot Passenger Ferry
Community Transportation Improvements
The package also includes funding to address some of our biggest transportation challenges, investments to improve the way we move around our community, and some toll relief for drivers.
- A 75-cent toll reduction for cars on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, holding tolls steady until the bonds are paid off (projected 2032).
- $18.5 million for upgrades along SR 104 to reduce congestion in Kingston caused by back-ups at the ferry terminal.
- Pedestrian and bike safety improvements on the Warren Avenue Bridge, creating a safer and view-filled community asset.
- A comprehensive investment into multimodal transportation, including funding for Kitsap Transit to expand service.
- $3 billion in culvert replacement and stormwater improvements, to help bring back salmon and keep Puget Sound clean.
- AND, for families, a proposal for youth ages 18 and under to ride free on ferries and transit!
Reminder: Town Hall on Saturday, Feb. 19
I hope you will join me and Reps. Drew Hansen and Tara Simmons for a Virtual 23rd District Town Hall on Feb. 19 at 11 a.m. You can sign up here and if you have a question you would like answered during the event, you can submit it here.
I hope to see you next weekend and please always feel free to contact me at Christine.Rolfes@leg.wa.gov.
Thanks for the opportunity to serve you,