State pausing some transportation projects because of $30 car tab measure
A King County judge put a temporary hold on the voter-approved $30 car tab measure, but the state is still pausing some projects that are threatened by Initiative 976.
The Washington State Department of Transportation says Governor Jay Inslee has not changed his orders to put a six-month hold on projects that don’t have contracts.
They include a new HOV ramp connection at the interchange of I-5 and State Route 520.
Another project affected is the first stage of completing State Route 509, which will eventually run all the way to I-5 south of Sea-Tac Airport.
A plan to squeeze in an extra lane by moving barriers and beefing up the shoulder on northbound I-5 through Downtown Seattle between Seneca Street and Olive Way is also on hold.
“That doesn’t mean those projects are dead. That means they’re paused while the conversation goes on,” said WSDOT Secretary Roger Millar in Vancouver earlier this month.
Other delayed projects include the Covington Connector, a new highway outside Walla Walla, new RapidRide bus stations in Kent, and 188 new King County vanpools.
If I-976 ultimately survives court challenges, WSDOT expects to cut $451 million out of its $6.7 billion budget in the 2019-21 budget because of the loss of car tab revenue.
The impact grows to $645 million in the 2021-23 budget and $726 million in the 2023-25 biennium.
I-976 sponsor Tim Eyman suggests paying for projects using a tax surplus.
Inslee says that money needs to stay in the rainy day fund.
Written by Graham Johnson