Inslee signs transportation budget, with car tabs in mind

The state will account for vehicle registration fees it collects, in case they have to be given back.

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday signed the supplemental state transportation budget that fills a $453 million hole created by passage of Initiative 976 last year.

The plan affects spending on the state transportation system through mid-2021. To plug the gap, lawmakers mostly relied on shifting money between accounts. That enabled them to avoid making cuts in bus services, delays in road projects and layoffs.

A number of projects that were put on hold following the initiative’s passage will be able to get going when the state Department of Transportation operations return to a degree of normalcy, Inslee said. A project to improve the intersection of Highways 9 and 204 in Lake Stevens is one of those that had been paused.

Inslee said the supplemental budget is crafted on the assumption the legality of the initiative will be upheld. It requires the Department of Licensing to set aside vehicle registration fees in case they need to be returned later, he said.

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