The House released their $7.5 billion budget plan yesterday, and it includes $4.6 billion for more than 400 transportation construction projects across the state.
Despite shrinking revenues, the plan maintains a lot of funding for ‘mega-projects’ such as: $2.4 billion for Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement, $1.5 billion for a Tacoma-area HOV-lane project, I90 at Snoqualmie Pass would get $600 million, and the SR 520 floating bridge replacement would get $1.2 billion, much of it from tolls on the bridge.
But instead of the requested $350 million for our North Spokane Corridor, the House set aside $302 million. According to House transportation committee member John Driscoll, some of the difference between the request and what was agreed upon, ($14 million) would instead be spent to build a bridge separating traffic at the intersection of U.S. 195 and Cheney-Spokane Road. That intersection has been in the forefront since a 16-year-old driver was killed there in January in a traffic collision. The Senate plan had only set aside $250,000 for work at the intersection. That would have paid to realign a turn lane to improve visibility for cars trying to cross.
Driscoll also said that many projects included in a $341 million project list for federal stimulus dollars now look like they’ll come in under-budget. If that proves to be the case, the Spokane region might be able to get some of that money for North Spokane Corridor work.