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King County’s system for funding infrastructure ‘no longer works’

Numerous bridges and roads around unincorporated King County could be restricted or closed if officials can't find enough funding. (File photo)

Numerous bridges and roads around unincorporated King County could be restricted or closed if officials can’t find enough funding.

Within 25 years, 35 bridges and about 72 miles of roadway could face closure if they are not repaired.

“Providing safe and reliable roads is a top priority, but the system for funding them hasn’t been revisited in nearly 30 years, and it no longer works,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “We must create a sustainable and regional solution to get our roads back on track.”

That’s why the county formed a task force of regional leaders and community members to recommend “sustainable solutions” for funding the repair and maintenance deemed so necessary. The task force will hold its first meeting Aug. 12. It will meet through January 2016. Members include elected officials, representatives of agriculture and recreation organizations, road experts and public policy leaders.

“The Bridges and Roads Task Force is an opportunity for all the people of King County – the people who use these roads – to be part of the solution,” said County Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “Through the work of this task force, we’ll look for new ways to solve our serious road funding problems so we can keep our communities moving and connected.”

Decades of annexations, declining gas tax revenue and vote initiatives have led to the underfunding of the county’s roads and bridges, according to information from the county. It said there is an “inadequate tax base and revenue tools.”

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