EVERETT — The state Department of Transportation halted more than two dozen projects across the state this week as the agency deals with a potential loss of revenue from the passage of Initiative 976. Funding allocated to dozens of local municipalities and transit agencies also has been delayed for at least six months.
Millions of dollars worth of projects are in Snohomish County, from Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood to Lake Stevens and Marysville.
The list of projects was released late Tuesday, hours before a King County Superior Court judge Wednesday blocked the $30 car-tab measure voters approved earlier this month. The initiative was set to go into effect. Dec. 5.
The city of Seattle and King County filed suit against the measure. The Washington State Transit Association, whose members include Sound Transit and Community Transit, and the Association of Washington Cities, which includes many Snohomish County cities, are also parties.
After the passage of I-976, Gov. Jay Inslee directed WSDOT to postpone projects not yet underway. Many are designed to add capacity to roadways.
WSDOT is preparing for a 7%, or $451 million, loss in its budget in the next two years, according to Roger Millar, the state’s transportation secretary.
Despite Wednesday’s injunction, the state is going forward with its plan.
In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Inslee said state funds from car tab fees would be held in a separate account.
“We will effectively go forward as if the initiative is still in place and these funds will be available for refunds as determined by any further court order,” he said.
In Snohomish County, a project in Lake Stevens at the intersection of highways 9 and 204 made the list. The phase of construction that adds a northbound lane has been deferred for at least six months. The entire plan also calls for additional southbound lanes and several roundabouts.
State funding for portions of local projects has been delayed for several cities in the county.
In Lynnwood, the state postponed about $10 million in funding for the widening of 196th Street SW between 48th and 37th avenues. As was about $500,000 for the Centennial Trail in Marysville and $360,000 for the Mountlake Terrace Main Street project.
The $40 million Lynnwood project is continuing at the moment, said Julie Moore, a spokesperson for the city. It’s currently in the design and acquisition stage, which is fully funded.
The WSDOT money is for a portion construction costs, Moore said. It is set to begin in the spring.
“Everything is kind of up in the air,” Moore said. “We will continue to advocate how important the project is for safety, maintenance and capacity.”
A $1.5 million state grant for Community Transit to purchase 26 replacement vehicles for the vanpool program also has been deferred. The transit agency is in the same wait and see holding pattern as Lynnwood. If the funding ultimately doesn’t come through, the agency might push off replacing the vans for a year, said Martin Munguia, a spokesperson for Community Transit.
Lizz Giordano: 425-374-4165; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @lizzgior.
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