Although a judge has ruled in favor of Seattle and King County’s bid to put a temporary halt on implementing I-976, effectively pausing the $30 car tabs measure while it plays out in court, Governor Inslee has directed WSDOT to postpone projects not yet underway.
By delaying the obligation of funds, WSDOT provides the Governor and Legislature more funding flexibility as they determine how to amend the 2019-21 transportation budget to implement I-976 during the legislative session.
WSDOT knows that the loss to transportation accounts used by the agency during the 2019–21 biennium is estimated to be $451 million out of a $6.7 billion biennial budget, assuming an implementation date of Dec. 5, 2019. For 2021–23, the effect for the full biennium is estimated at $645 million, and for 2023–25 the revenue loss is estimated at $726 million.
“This is a significant loss to specific programs supported by our agency budget,” said Secretary of Transportation Millar.A list created by DOT identifies delayed projects including:
- Construction projects that add capacity to the transportation system scheduled to go out to advertisement in the next six months (including any unexecuted consultant agreements related to these projects).
- State funded local agency projects with no executed agreement or projects that have a portion of the funds not under agreement.
- Rail grant projects with no executed agreements.
Public Transportation grant projects with no executed agreement and/or no purchase order of equipment or vehicles have yet been placed.
Included on the list is the State Route 14/E. Bingen – Port of Klickitat Access Improvements and the Bingen Walnut Creek & Maple Railroad Crossing.
The Port of Klickitat Access project was originally scheduled for competitive advertising in spring 2020, but may be pushed out to late 2020, and may be split into phases.
According to Millar, WSDOT is assuming a delay of these projects for at least six months.
“It is important to note that projects and grants not included in the attached list may also be affected by legislative deliberations to amend the 2019-21 transportation budget to reflect passage of I-976,” Millar said. “Additionally, all new grant funded project solicitations will be on hold until we are given further direction by the Legislature and Governor.”
He continued, “the work to determine which projects are postponed is not simple, nor a task taken lightly. This list reflects deliberative work as transportation projects are complex. Each project is unique in terms of current project phase, how they are funded and structured– often a blend of local, state and federal dollars – and all required close examination to determine what postponement could mean from a funding and contractual perspective.”
As for the SR 141 ADA and Paving project:
- Both of these projects were scheduled for competitive advertised in spring 2020, but they have been delayed due to a water line project that the city of White Salmon just advertised:
- Once the city of White Salmon completes its waterline construction project, DOT can begin work to upgrade the ADA ramps, and pave.
- To reduce the chances of having to rip up any freshly poured concrete and/or freshly paved asphalt, the waterline construction work must be completed beforehand.
- While design work is on-going, the ADA work remains scheduled for competitive advertising in spring of 2021.
- Paving work is scheduled for competitive advertising in spring of 2022.
The DOT delayed project list does not include preservation, specific safety-related projects, fish passage, or specific grant projects designed to serve or keep vulnerable populations safe. Preservation and safety projects will move forward and are critical to the safe operation of our multimodal transportation system. Fish passage projects are also moving forward to ensure the state meets the federal court injunction deadline. Grant projects that are designed to serve or keep vulnerable populations safe include programs such as bike/ped safety grants, safe routes to school grants and public transportation programs like state special needs and rural mobility grants.