Transportation dollars, county by county

East of the Cascades, in the arid, less-populous half of Washington, residents can be heard griping that metropolitan Puget Sound gets all the state money for big transportation projects. In Western Washington, taxpayers might conclude that the reverse is true, that the millions of residents west of the mountains surely must be subsidizing rural corners of the state. Well, they’re both right and both wrong. The fact is, dollar for dollar, there are counties on both sides of the Cascade curtain that get more bang for the buck — or less.

This chart ranks Washington counties based on how much money for transportation was contributed by residents through taxes and fees and how much transportation spending benefited them in return. The basis is state transportation budgets for the fiscal years 2004 through 2012 and includes federal spending, as well.

The only county truly getting its fair share was Kitsap, the residents of which got $1 back for every dollar they contributed.

County Funding contributed for transportation Transportation distributions and expenditures Return per dollar contributed
Garfield $7,821,000 $28,142,000 $3.60
Lincoln $34,879,000 $106,126,000 $3.04
Ferry $25,874,000 $65,309,000 $2.52
Jefferson $234,193,000 $582,572,000 $2.49
Wahkiakum $13,646,000 $30,448,000 $2.23
Columbia $20,051,000 $41,456,000 $2.07
Adams $57,096,000 $115,502,000 $2.02
San Juan $143,598,000 $284,818,000 $1.98
Pend Oreille $42,427,000 $77,957,000 $1.84
Pacific $75,029,000 $136,503,000 $1.82
Skagit $493,555,000 $865,155,000 $1.75
Grays Harbor $243,747,000 $396,940,000 $1.63
Klickitat $70,315,000 $105,634,000 $1.50
Kittitas $262,291,000 $388,344,000 $1.48
Skamania $33,030,000 $42,177,000 $1.28
Douglas $145,948,000 $185,506,000 $1.27
Whitman $128,117,000 $162,432,000 $1.27
Lewis $270,799,000 $341,904,000 $1.26
Walla Walla $227,701,000 $256,145,000 $1.12
Whatcom $609,224,000 $660,135,000 $1.08
Okanogan $130,764,000 $137,789,000 $1.05
Kitsap $1,466,723,000 $1,470,524,000 $1.00
Pierce $2,904,400,000 $2,867,362,000 $0.99
Snohomish $2,542,164,000 $2,450,109,000 $0.96
King $8,349,870,000 $7,958,916,000 $0.95
Chelan $241,719,000 $230,269,000 $0.95
Island $392,134,000 $368,480,000 $0.94
Grant $272,659,000 $254,929,000 $0.93
Thurston $777,128,000 $692,129,000 $0.89
Clark $1,382,071,000 $1,209,749,000 $0.88
Stevens $135,990,000 $118,561,000 $0.87
Cowlitz $340,868,000 $296,477,000 $0.87
Spokane $1,435,200,000 $1,202,563,000 $0.84
Yakima $747,439,000 $569,191,000 $0.76
Benton $532,749,000 $360,457,000 $0.68
Mason $188,557,000 $121,769,000 $0.65
Asotin $73,166,000 $45,821,000 $0.63
Clallam $223,718,000 $139,162,000 $0.62
Franklin $219,926,000 $129,124,000 $0.59
Statewide $25,496,586,000 $25,496,586,000 $1.00

Source: Washington State Department of Transportation

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