Leaked: Washington State’s $12 Billion Highway Spending Plan

Surprise! Transit advocates in Seattle recently found out that Washington state lawmakers have been formulating an enormous $12 billion highway spending package in secret.

But someone leaked the documents to Ben Schiendelman at Seattle Transit Blog. He says there’s a good reason legislators tried to keep this proposal under wraps. It’s the same type of expensive, cars-only policy that Washington residents have already rejected:

Even worse than the last package we saw, it reduces bike/ped funding further, and adds new highway projects, including a massive JBLM interchange that likely includes widening I-5, and dozens of other highway expansions. This package includes funding for the west end of 520 – partly a positive, but it completely funds the project, making tolling I-90 unnecessary. Avoiding tolling on highways is a poor choice for both congestion and sprawl. This package would cause significant increases in CO2, congestion, and sprawl, and offer a bare minimum of transit options. In the long run, driving sprawl like this also dramatically increases the cost to provide transit options.

If the legislature were funding Sound Transit 3 along with this, it might be a different story, but they are not. This is much, much worse than the Roads and Transit package local voters soundly trounced in 2007. It’s our job to urge our legislators to vote against it.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Twin City Sidewalks responds to Daniel Duane’s “Is It O.K. to Kill Cyclists?” piece in the New York Times by noting that cyclists shouldn’t blame themselves for motorist aggression. 1000 Friends of Wisconsin crunches the numbers and finds that 8.5 percent of the land in Madison is devoted to off-street car parking. And Urban Indy notices some small amenities that can make a big difference for quality of life in urban places.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Washington State’s Faustian Bargain to Fund Transit

|
Washington Governor Jay Inslee and state legislators have agreed to enable funding for a major Seattle transit expansion, but the deal comes with drawbacks. If approved, the state would fund a $15 billion package of transportation projects and, separately, authorize Sound Transit to raise $15 billion to expand light rail via regional taxes. Martin H. […]

America’s Myopic Public Debate About Tolling Roads

|
Seattle is getting ready to embark on a construction project that will put the squeeze on a few of its major highways. This event, ironically, served as a jumping off point for local media to indignantly demand a tolling “holiday” on the SR 520 floating bridge. Martin Duke at Seattle Transit Blog said the episode illustrates […]

Highway Boondoggles: Washington’s Puget Sound Gateway Project

|
In a new report, Highway Boondoggles 2, U.S. PIRG and the Frontier Group profile the most wasteful highway projects that state DOTs are building. Today we look at a classic — Washington’s $3 billion “Puget Sound Gateway Project.” Washington plans to spend billions on the Puget Sound Gateway project to “relieve congestion,” but if anything the project will increase it. […]

Night of the Living Highway Extension

|
Tacoma resident Evan Siroky got a rude reminder of what’s in Washington State DOT’s project pipeline yesterday, reading in the local paper that officials are looking to revive plans to extend state route 167 as a limited access highway. The new highway segment would reach the Port of Tacoma, and Siroky writes on member blog […]