Washington State Legislature approves nearly $17 billion transportation package

The Washington State Legislature gave final approval Thursday to a transportation package that  invests $16.9 billion over 16 years in major projects throughout the state.  

Move Ahead Washington was sponsored by 21st District Sen. Marko Liias and 27th District Rep. Jake Fey, the respective chairs of the Senate and House transportation committees. 

“We said when this package was announced that it was a first draft, and now we’ve passed a package that incorporates the feedback we’ve received over the last month,” Liias said in a news release announcing the measure’s passage. “We’re investing in projects from rural to urban areas across our state, letting kids ride free on our buses, ferries and trains, and so much more — and all without punting the cost to working families.” 

The revenue package adopted a shift in funding sources after an export fuel tax projected to provide $2 billion in funding was removed on the House floor. To make up most of that shortfall, $57 million a year from the operating budget and $57 million a year from the Public Works Assistance Account will be transferred to transportation to provide an additional $1.7 billion over 16 years.  

According to the news release, the package presents a turning point in transportation policy for Washington, with historic investments in climate mitigation, preservation and maintenance, public transportation and pedestrian safety.  

“I’m eager for residents across the state to have more efficient and safer commutes – no matter how they’re travelling,” said Liias, whose 21st District represents portions of Edmonds and Lynnwood.

Notable investments include: 

  • $5.4 billion toward carbon reduction and multimodal expansion. 
  • $3 billion for maintenance and preservation.  
  • $3 billion for public transportation.  
  • Free fares for passengers 18 and younger on all public transportation. 
  • $2.4 billion to fund fish passage barrier removals.  
  • $1.3 billion in active transportation, including Safe Routes to School and school-based bike programs. 
  • $1 billion to fund Washington’s portion of an I-5 replacement bridge across the Columbia River.  
  • $836 million to build four new hybrid-electric ferries. 
  • $150 million towards ultra-high-speed rail. 
  • $50 million for walking and biking infrastructure in underinvested communities.  

Full revenue and project lists can be found here. Passage of Move Ahead Washington marks the first time since 2015 that a transportation package has passed the Legislature. 

Having been passed by both chambers of the Legislature, the bills now go to the governor to be signed into law. 

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