Spokane County could get about $125 million from taxpayers over the next two years under transportation budgets making their way through the State Legislature. According to the Spokesman-Review, the separate House and Senate transportation budgets for the upcoming two-year fiscal cycle are very similar.
Most of the money is already spoken for in projects that were originally added to the budget in 2015 when the state gas tax was increased but some additions were added.
Both proposed budgets have about $75 million for continued work on the North Spokane Corridor; $8.5 million for a pedestrian bridge in the University District; $8.1 for the Central City Line to connect the district with Browne’s Addition; $8.1 million for a West Plains Transit Center; $7.7 million for repaving stretches of U.S. Highway 2, State Route 290 and State Route 904; $4 million to start work on the Interstate 90/Medical Lake interchange, where another $22.5 million would be spent in 2019-21; $3.9 million for a 100-stall park-and-ride facility at the south end of the Regal and Monroe transit lines; and $1.6 million to replace the State Route 290 East Sprague bridge over the Spokane River.
Both bills also include $10.1 million for a passing lane on U.S. 195 between Colfax and Spangle, and $6.7 million for rehabilitation of the Palouse River and Coulee City Railroad line.
Having the same projects with the same amount of money in each budget does not guarantee approval, but it does put them in a strong position for the legislative process which will involve debate and votes in each chamber and a negotiating on differences in each bill.
The House Transportation bill has an extra $2.1 million for a transit center at Spokane Falls Community College and $300,000 for replacing the deck of the triangle truss bridge in Riverfront Park. That project is listed in the Senate budget but has no money set aside for it in the next two years.