- Associated Press - Thursday, May 28, 2015

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - A bill to keep state transportation projects moving along has passed the state Senate and is heading to the governor’s desk.

The measure approved Thursday in the Senate and Wednesday in the House sets aside $3.8 billion for capital construction projects like the State Route 520 bridge replacement, $2.3 billion for operating programs like the state ferries, and $1.5 billion for paying down debts.

This budget is designed to keep existing programs going. Another transportation budget to pay for new projects is still being negotiated in the Legislature.

Both the Senate and House versions of the new revenue transportation budget include about $15 billion in spending.

The Senate passed a $15 billion package in March with an 11.7-cent gas tax increase that would pay for $8 billion in road projects, including the North-South Freeway in Spokane and Interstate 90 on Snoqualmie Pass.

The House proposal has a similar plan to build the same roads, but also includes the Gov. Jay Inslee’s cap-and-trade plan that charges polluters to pay for transportation projects.

Both include billions for transit expansion.

The current projects transportation budget approved this week includes $379 million to continue construction of the six-lane 520 bridge, and $640 million for demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

The bill also includes $17 million to improve public transit in the Seattle area to make up for traffic disruption from the viaduct replacement project.

About $252 million is included to repave about 2100 miles of roadway. Maintenance on existing bridges totals $145 million.

It also includes money for ferry terminal repair, the State Patrol and a widening project on Interstate 90.


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