Tuesday, July 5, 2011

New projects will need new revenue, hence a new task force

Washington's transportation system is need of more than $175 billion worth of improvements, maintenance and preservation work over the next 20 years.

Those projects, however, cannot currently be funded with existing revenues. Gas tax revenues are flat and revenue from the 2003 and 2005 transportation packages approved by voters are committed to paying off projects that have been or soon will be completed.

The lack of available new funding is evident in the most recent transportation budget approved by the Legislature, which essentially maintains funding for existing projects and maintenance efforts but funds very little in the way of new projects.

That's why today the Governor announced a new task force to whittle down the top priorities in the state and strategies for funding them. State Rep. Judy Clibborn, who chairs the House Transportation Committee, will be on the task force along with representatives from local communities, business groups, labor, tribes, environmental groups, and more.

The first task force meeting will be later this month. We'll let you know when details are confirmed.