FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Dec. 18, 1995
OLYMPIA - In announcing a 1996
Supplemental Budget, Gov. Mike Lowry today proposed $169.9 million
in transportation spending recommendations to continue programs
that received only first-year funding in the 1995-97 biennial
budget and fund new projects aimed at economic development and
"It is vital to our economic health to be able to move goods
quickly and inexpensively, but it is also important that we as
individuals can get to work or anywhere else in a safe and timely
manner," Lowry said. "We will keep the state moving
ahead with this transportation budget."
The supplemental budget package includes $107.4 million for second-year
funding of state and local highway projects and agency activities
already underway. Among the projects are:
- Traffic Management: The Department of Transportation
(DOT) does not have funds allocated to manage the traffic flows
in urban areas in the next year. Without these operations, the
express lanes through downtown Seattle and traffic flows on Interstate
5 and Interstate 90 would not function efficiently. At the same
time, the Office of Urban Mobility, the central planning agency
for the HOV lane core system and the state's local and regional
transportation planning agent, is also funded for the second year
of the biennium. The supplemental budget proposes $12.4 million
to keep both of these services running.
- Local Highway projects: The Governor's proposal appropriates
$55.8 million available from fund balances for the Transportation
Improvement Board for planned local highway projects.
- Licensing Application Migration Project (LAMP): The
Governor proposes $15.3 million to allow the Department of Licensing
to continue development an integrated information system designed
to match drivers' licenses with vehicle registration.
- Narcotics computer system: This budget appropriates
$197,000 to allow the State Patrol to continue development of
a computer system to assist in the investigation of narcotics
In addition, Lowry proposes new spending on several projects to
ease congestion and trigger economic investment, including:
- Improving freight mobility: To improve freight mobility,
$12.9 million is earmarked for both the Mill Plain extension in
Vancouver and the NE 40th Street interchange in Redmond. The
Mill Plain extension, from I-5 to the Port of Vancouver, will
allow the port to develop 1,200 acres of property for import and
export activities and is a major economic boost for southwestern
Washington. In Redmond's Overlake business district, the NE 40th
St. interchange under state Route 520 will be widened and new
collector-distributor lanes constructed in each direction to improve
access to a business park and ease congestion in surrounding intersections.
Also, $500,000 is provided to develop a Washington Investment
Strategy for Freight, a collaborative effort by the Department
of Transportation, the private sector, and local elected officials
to identify future freight rail needs in Washington State.
- Highway improvements: Some high-priority projects
which will improve traffic flows around the state are: $6.6 million
for continued development of the Sequim by-pass; $6 million for
HOV lane improvements near Everett; $5 million for engineering
and design of future construction projects; $3 million for safety
improvement projects; $2.1 million for park road improvements;
$500,000 to study alternatives to a seismic retrofit for the Alaskan
Way viaduct in Seattle; and a $50,000 corridor study for a future
Belfair by-pass in Mason County.
- County highway improvements: Approximately $20 million
is proposed for the County Road Administration Board for county
road preservation projects. New criteria would allow counties
to qualify for rural arterial grants which otherwise would not
The Governor's supplemental transportation budget also responds
to several developments that were not anticipated when the current
two-year budget was approved in June. Those include:
- Snow and Ice Removal Costs: $2.5 million is
provided to the state Department of Transportation to meet costs
associated with earlier than expected winter storms. Since the
final cost of winter storm maintenance activities is not yet known,
adjustments may be required in this appropriation.
- Maintaining Trooper Field Force Levels: Attrition
at the State Patrol has been significantly higher than anticipated--running
approximately one per month above estimates. To maintain the
trooper field force at target levels, $1.3 million in additional
funding is required to provide a second cadet training class.
- Service Improvements at the Department of Licensing:
Executive request legislation will be introduced during the 1996
Legislative Session to change the current four-year driver's license
to five-year renewal terms. This will reduce waiting times in
license offices around the state by up to 20 percent, while increasing
revenue by $735,000 in the current biennium and $4.8 million in
1997-99. Those resources will be directed to fund service improvements
in the Clark County and Kent licensing offices.
- Improved Cash Management in the Ferry System: Approximately
$34 million will be taken from the Ferry Systems Operating Account
to cover a portion of the construction costs for new jumbo ferries.
This would still leave an estimated cash balance of $53 million
in the account for future ferry capital and service improvements.
For more information, contact the Governor's Communications Office