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Published on Friday, March 24, 2017

Senate releases transportation budget

On March 20, the Senate released their proposed transportation budget for the 2017-19 biennium. The $8.7 billion spending plan includes an increase of $166 million of projected revenues compared to the February 2016 revenue forecast. Fuel tax collections are generally flat while license, permit and fee revenues are up.

There are no real surprises in the budget. Since this is the first full biennium of funding since passage of Connecting Washington, this budget includes full direct distributions of gas tax and multi-modal revenues to cities that were adopted as part of the package in 2015. In addition, it includes the full additional funding for programs and agencies, including the Bicycle and Pedestrian grants through WSDOT, the Transportation Improvement Board, and the Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board.

This budget does not fully fund some expected pay increases and labor agreements for some state employees whose compensation is appropriated through the transportation budget (e.g. ferry workers). The Senate took a similar approach in their operating budget proposal, which means that the ultimate passage of a transportation budget may depend on resolution of contentious negotiations around the operating budget.

The Senate Transportation Committee passed their budget proposal on March 22 and will likely pass it out of the full Senate soon. The House will release their proposal on March 27. Then negotiations will begin.

Categories: Transportation