OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee today signed the 2016 supplemental transportation budget that continues to improve safety and traffic relief throughout Washington. It builds upon major new investments approved by legislators last year in the Connecting Washington transportation package.
“Washington is experiencing tremendous growth and, as a result, more people are using our highways and ferries every year,” Inslee said. “This supplemental budget, along with last year’s historic Connecting Washington package, helps ensure that we can accommodate this growth while maintaining safety, reducing congestion and growing our economy.”
The 2016 supplemental transportation budget provides funding for key traffic relief initiatives the governor announced in February, including 10 new incident response trucks throughout Puget Sound to more quickly clear collisions and blockages and additional capacity on Interstate 405 to alleviate congestion at some of the worst chokepoints.
The concerns of commuters have been heard loud and clear,” said Rep. Judy Clibborn, chair of the House Transportation Committee which held a work session on I-405 during the legislative session. “This budget provides real solutions to real problems,” she said.
“These are welcome improvements to the I-405 corridor that will ease congestion and help move goods and people quickly and safely,” Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen said.
“I-405 is the lifeline commuting corridor for the Eastside. It is one of the most congested corridors in the region. This new budget provides more than $50 million in traffic relief funding for the corridor,” King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci said. “That’s a big win for the Eastside and all of King County.”
“This supplemental budget makes necessary adjustments to the Connecting Washington transportation package to ensure it is implemented in a manner that puts taxpayer money to work quickly and efficiently,” Kenmore Mayor Dave Baker said. “I look forward to seeing traffic relief on our state’s most congested corridors in the near future.”
In addition, the supplemental transportation budget takes a first step to addressing recruitment and retention issues at the Washington State Patrol by providing a 5 percent salary increase for troopers, sergeants, lieutenants and captains, and includes operations funding for an 87-car stand-by ferry to improve system maintenance and reliability. Additional funding is provided to help the Department of Licensing keep up with the increased workload related to providing enhanced driver’s licenses and identification cards. And $116 million is provided for ongoing efforts to respond to court orders requiring improved fish passage around the state.
“Our ability to make such tremendous progress in transportation over the past two years represents hard work, compromise and leadership by legislators, community organizations and citizens across Washington,” Inslee said. “We still have work to do, and we’re getting it done.”