Transportation Committee Chair Judy Clibborn (D-Mercer Island) and members of the committee rolled out the details of the Connecting Washington transportation package, which would fund nearly $10 billion in transportation projects across the state.
“The Connecting Washington package will link the communities of our state to each other and to the rest of the world,” said Clibborn. “From the child going to school each day to the farmer whose crops travel through our ports to markets abroad, this package is about the infrastructure and jobs that will bring Washingtonians together.”
In a press conference Wednesday, legislators and supporters from prominent business, labor, and environmental groups emphasized the role the package would play in growing Washington’s economy.
“Improving our transportation system is critical to Washington’s economy. We hope that today’s proposal by Rep. Clibborn will be the start of a robust conversation in Olympia about how to address an estimated $50 billion in transportation needs. We can’t afford to wait any longer,” said Steve Mullin, President of the Washington Roundtable.
“The construction industry across the state was the hardest hit by the recession, leaving many workers unemployed or underemployed. This package will not only help businesses and commuters, it will also help get these folks back to work,” said Rep. Luis Moscoso (D-Mountlake Terrace).
Beyond supporting freight mobility and traffic reduction, the package also provides funds for local governments to improve street safety and fund transit agencies.
“Our roads do more than move cars from one place to another, they connect our communities,” said Rep. Marko Liias (D-Mukilteo). “This investment package protects the right of every person – rich or poor, young or old – to get around by improving transportation choices in our state.”
Several legislators hailed the benefits of the package at improving transportation infrastructure in communities across the state.
“The improvements are a much-needed step towards reducing gridlock for commuters from Auburn to Tacoma to Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Our businesses that depend on a strong freight system will no longer see their livelihood tied up in traffic,” said Rep. Jake Fey (D-Tacoma).
Added Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane): “The North Spokane Corridor is a critical project for the Spokane Region. Every dollar spent as we work our way to connecting with I-90 and project completion will create jobs. The investments laid out in the package will help farmers, manufacturers and other businesses all across eastern Washington succeed by helping them move goods more efficiently and affordably.”
A hearing on the Connecting Washington Package is expected early next week in the House Transportation Committee.