Dear friends and neighbors,
Last night was a big win for us.
The House passed its transportation budget, which included nearly $9 million of funding for vital transportation projects in East King County. This funding, above all else, means safer roads and reduced congestion. Below are the projects for which I'm most proud to have helped secure funding.
A redesign of the I-90/SR 18 Interchange, including widening of SR 18, was scheduled to begin in 2023 as part of the Connecting Washington project. But lawmakers in Olympia recognized the dangerous conditions we're experiencing as a result of congestion. $5 million was allocated in the House transportation budget to move the project up six years and begin later this year.
$1.5 million was allocated in the House budget to redesign the intersection of SR 900 and 12th Ave NW in Issaquah. This project will increase turning capacity at the intersection and reduce the amount of time you sit at a red light.
In addition to funding local improvements, this bi-partisan transportation budget will help recruit and retain highly qualified state troopers; study and repair structurally deficient bridges; fund continued operation of ferries; and implement other vital Connecting Washington projects.
Sound Transit 3
I must admit, I'm disappointed the House did not take stronger action last night to improve ST3 and increase the accountability of the Regional Transit Authority (RTA).
I've heard from many working families about their skyrocketing car tabs. I introduced an amendment to the budget that would have tied the formula for calculating your car tabs to the Kelley Blue Book assessed value, rather than the artificially inflated value currently being used. Unfortunately, it was not adopted.
There have been many bills introduced that would lift the burden on working families while leaving the measure intact. You can watch my video below where I discuss these bills.
These bills to refine ST3 are straightforward. Despite today's disappointments, I will continue to advocate for these commonsense improvements.
With less than two weeks left of the regular session remaining, we'll be turning all of our attention to funding education, the operating budget, and the capital budget. As we continue with budget discussions, please continue to call me at (360)786-7876 or email me directly at Paul.Graves@leg.wa.gov.
I look forward to hearing from you.