Sen. Curtis King, ranking Republican on the Senate Transportation Committee and R-Yakima, issued this statement on Proposed Substitute Senate Bill 5214, the 2019-21 Senate transportation budget unveiled by Senate Transportation Committee Chair Steve Hobbs on Tuesday:
“This is generally a minimal transportation budget. It doesn’t spend as much as prior budgets, and I plan to support it in committee this week – but with a few concerns. I think we need to take a hard look at the expenses associated with the state ferry system, especially the cost of converting ferries to diesel-electric power. Hydrogen-fueled vessels could be an option and should be considered, but hydrogen wasn’t even looked at.
“Also, this budget covers all of the salary increases for the State Patrol and State Ferries that the governor negotiated. We can’t just keep increasing salaries and expect their salary budgets to remain sustainable and viable. “What I really like about this budget is that it offers some flexibility regarding money that for some reason doesn’t get spent as originally intended. We have said to WSDOT, ‘here is a list of projects that you can move up from the Connecting Washington package if you realized you have monies that you’re not going to be able to spend. These are the projects that you can bring up and continue or complete.’ By doing this, we don’t need to do a big reappropriation at the end of every biennium.”