Nearly $700 million for Snohomish County projects in roads package

  • By Jerry Cornfield
  • Monday, June 29, 2015 1:20pm
  • Local News

The public is getting their first look at the detail in a $16.1 billion transportation revenue package that depends on increasing the gas tax by 11.9 cents a gallon in the next two years.

It spends about $8.8 billion on new projects, $1.4 billion on maintaining existing roads and $602 million for Washington State Ferries, of which a portion will go to build a new 144-car vessel and construct a new terminal in Mukilteo. There’s nearly $1 billion for buses, bike paths, sidewalks and other forms of public transportation.

The proposal calls for hiking the state’s gas tax by 7 cents on Aug. 1 and 4.9 cents on July 1, 2016. This will boost the gas tax from 37.5 cents today to 49.4 cents.

Money also is generated from increasing registration fees by $15 to $35 a year depending on the weight of the vehicle.

Another $518 million is counted on from the transfer of sales tax collected on new transportation projects from the general fund into the account for this package.

State lawmakers could vote Monday afternoon.

The bill contains an emergency clause which would prevent voters from filing a referendum to block it. However, some House Democrats may join Republicans in an attempt to amend the bill to require it go before voters.

There is roughly $670 million allotted for road, transit and ferry projects in Snohomish County.

The largest expenditure is $142 million for building a new bridge on Highway 9 over the Snohomish River.

Money also is earmarked for an offramp on Highway 526 at Hardeson Road near the Boeing Co. complex, improving the intersection of Highway 9 and State Route 204 in Lake Stevens and expansion of the bus rapid transit service offered by Community Transit and Everett Transit.

And there’s money for a new freeway interchange at the south end of Marysville, reconstructing I-5 interchanges at 88th Street and at 116th St. NE in Marysville and for safety projects on U.S. 2 between Snohomish and Skykomish.

You can see all the projects here.

Also, Community Transit will get the go-ahead to ask its voters to increase the sales tax for expanding bus service in Snohomish County. A measure could be on the ballot this November, under the bill.

And Sound Transit will be allowed to raise up to $15 billion from voters for its next phase of expansion which includes extending light rail service to Everett. Sound Transit wants to ask voters in 2016 to fund the expansion with hikes in the local property and sales taxes, and car tab fees.

The bill also has a twist for Sound Transit. It requires the district to send $518 million in sales tax collections to the state between 2020 and 2031 to backfill the amount that is getting diverted to road projects.

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