Thursday, May 28, 2015

State Transportation Bill Passes House and Heads to Senate

The Washington state House of Representatives passed a $5.1 billion transportation budget Wednesday, as reported by the Spokesman-Review. Now the spending plan goes to the Senate, which could pass it before the first special session ends today.

The bill is being called the “current law” transportation budget, using existing taxes and fees, to distinguish it from other proposals that would raise the gasoline tax to pay for new projects. It calls for spending about $100 million on Spokane County projects over the next 10 years, with about $46 million in the upcoming 2015-17 biennium.

Among the local projects getting money would be the North Spokane Corridor, slated for about $36 million.The Spokane Transit Authority would get nearly $2 million for design, engineering and planning on the Central City Line project. Although that project was part of an unsuccessful ballot measure last month, STA is looking to introduce a revised measure. There is also $1.7 million allocated to STA for a West Plains Transit Center.

The Interstate 90 corridor between Spokane and the Idaho state line would receive about $1.5 million and state Route 290 (Trent Avenue) between Sullivan Road and the Idaho line would get about $1.8 million for repaving.

Local elected leaders who voted yes on the budget include Democrats Timm Ormsby and Marcus Riccelli and Republican Kevin Parker. Republicans who voted no were Mary Dye, Jeff Holy, Bob McCaslin, Joe Schmick, Matt Shea and Shelly Short.

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About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.