Eastside Voices Heard in Olympia Regarding SR 18
On Thursday, March 8th, the Legislature approved a supplemental transportation budget that would increase the 2017-19 transportation budget lawmakers passed last year from $8.5 billion to $9.3 billion.
5th District Reps. Jay Rodne and Paul Graves voted in favor of the supplemental budget, which includes $1 million in startup costs for State Route (SR) 18 widening between Issaquah Hobart Road to Raging River, $20,000 of a $20 million project for congestion management on SR 18 between SR 167 and SR 410, as well as re-appropriation funding for other key projects, including the I-90/SR 18 interchange.
“My top transportation priority over the past two years has been to move up the timeframe for the I-90/SR 18 interchange project,” said Graves, R-Fall City. “We’ve seen too many fatalities, and commuters have waited long enough for much-needed safety improvements. This critical project will save lives, and I’m ecstatic it’s been prioritized in the transportation budgets we’ve passed. It’s truly a testament to what can happen when we work together in a thoughtful, bipartisan way.”
The Connecting Washington transportation package, a 16-year plan that was approved by the Legislature in 2015, provided $150 million for the I-90/SR 18 interchange project. However the design of the project wouldn’t have begun until 2023. The 5th District delegation secured an additional $5 million in the 2017-19 transportation budget passed last April to advance the project’s design process by six years.
“Senator Mark Mullet, Representative Paul Graves and I just held town hall meetings last month, and one of the leading transportation issues we continue to hear about is the I-90/SR 18 interchange,” said Rodne, R-Snoqualmie, who serves on the House Transportation Committee. “This interchange is easily one of the most dangerous bottlenecks in our state, and the drivers who sit idling in traffic each day can attest to just how dangerous it is. Commuters simply can’t wait any longer for congestion relief. Expediting this project’s timeline was a top priority for me last year, and it will indubitably help our economy and will keep East King County families safer on our highways.”
The House 2018 supplemental budget provides additional funding to the Department of Licensing to accommodate REAL ID implementation, monies to allow for a fourth Washington State Patrol trooper class, and provides resources for the Washington State Department of Transportation to add the Alaskan Way Viaduct to its tolling operations.
The 2018 legislative session adjourned March 8.