King supports minimal changes for second year of transportation budget

20140304_LegWA_4097shThe state Senate last night approved minor adjustments to the state’s 2013-15 transportation budget that will continue maintenance and preservation of Washington roads, bridges and other infrastructure. Sen. Curtis King, co-chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, says the modest changes he supports through Senate Bill 6001 are not about adding spending for new projects but simply continue to fund existing work.

“Because of the hard work we put into the biennial transportation budget last year, there were very few areas that needed adjustment in 2014,” said King, a Yakima Republican who represents the 14th Legislative District. “Supplemental budgets are meant to address unforeseen issues, appropriations that didn’t balance right or issues that are time-sensitive. They’re not meant to be another bite at the apple.”

The supplemental transportation budget would invest a total of $380 million in projects and programs statewide. Of that, $330 million would be devoted to maintenance and operation, including:

  • $270 million in re-appropriations;
  • $67 million for project schedule updates;
  • $13 million for increased Amtrak costs; and
  • $2 million in start-up funding for previously-authorized Interstate 405 express-toll lanes;

King says the budget also addresses policy issues that total just less than $50 million, including:

  • $26 million for State Route 520 cost overruns in 2013-15;
  • $21 million in debt-related costs;
  • $3.5 million for a customer service center for tolling;
  • $1.4 million for a new system to issue driver’s licenses; and
  • An additional $350,000 to complete replacement of the Everett weigh station.

“All of the added policy items had to meet certain criteria,” King added. “Either it corrected a technical error, dealt with an emergency, seized a limited-time opportunity, or was driven by caseload needs. I’m proud of the work we’ve done in the transportation committee to reach bipartisan agreement on the supplemental budget, and I thank my fellow legislators for staying involved throughout the process.”

The supplemental transportation budget will now be considered by the House of Representatives.