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Published on Friday, May 29, 2015

Legislature passes current law transportation budget

At the very close of the first special session, the Legislature passed a current law transportation budget. This is the budget that keeps the state’s transportation agencies running – not the long-awaited transportation package that would bring new revenue and new investment. While this budget basically maintains the status quo, there are a couple items that are good for cities. The bill continues Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) funding that was at risk (see article from April 3). These funds will be used for the:

  • Arterial Preservation Program (APP) to provide preservation assistance to cities with a population greater than 5,000 and assessed valuation less than $2 billion;
  • Small City Preservation Program (SCPP) to assist cities under a population of 5,000 with preservation needs; and
  • Grant program for cities to switch streetlights to energy-efficient LED.

In addition, the Legislature funded a pair of studies to forecast freight cargo needs, identify prominent road-rail conflicts, and recommend a corridor-based prioritization process for addressing the impacts of projected increases in rail traffic. This study will lay important groundwork for addressing the problems associated with at-grade rail crossings in cities.

Transportation leaders are still negotiating a new transportation package and AWC is strongly encouraging the Legislature to not leave Olympia without a package.

Categories: Transportation