Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Senate Passes Transportation Budget. House Considering It Now

The State Senate yesterday passed and sent on to the House a plan to spend $16.1 billion on transportation projects over the next 16 years. The Spokesman-Review reports that the transportation budget raises gas taxes 11.9 cents per gallon over two years. The tax would go up by 7 cents this Aug. 1 and 4.9 cents on July 1, 2016. It also increases weight fees for trucks and passenger vehicles and levies a $5 fee on all new studded tires sold after July 1, 2016.

During the 16-year span of the budget, it would spend more than $1 billion on Spokane-area projects, including $879 million to complete the North Spokane Corridor.

Also on the project list for our area: $26.5 million over the next four years for the Medical Lake/Geiger interchange project on the West Plains, and about the same amount to expand I-90 between Barker and Harvard roads in Spokane Valley.

The University District Gateway Bridge would get $8.8 million, and improvements to U.S. Highway 195 between Colfax and Spangle total $17.6 million during the next six years. And $47 million would be set aside for renovations of the Palouse River – Coulee City Railroad. The Spokane Central Line, a transit project in the city of Spokane, would receive $15 million.

The House will take up the transportation budget today. If it passes without any amendments, it also will go directly to Inslee. 

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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.