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Transportation revenue package includes money for Metro and 522 improvements
The Washington State House of Representatives passed the Connecting Washington transportation revenue package, which included several important projects for Kenmore on Thursday.
The bill failed yesterday but was brought back to the floor and passed 51-41 today. It faces tough opposition in the Washington State Senate.
It would increase the state gas tax by 10.5 cents during the next year. The boost in the gas tax along with car and truck weight fees will raise $10 billion for transportation. The gas tax would increase 6 cents a gallon in August and another 4.5 cents in July of 2014.
Sen. David Frockt, Rep. Jessyn Farrell and Rep. Gerry Pollet praised the passage as a victory for their constituents.
The package gives local transportation a funding option for public transit. This funding option will allow King County Metro to stave off the imminent, devastating 17 percent service reductions.
“More than two-thirds of commuters to downtown Seattle now choose to do so by means other than driving alone. These public options are critical for keeping up with growing demand for mass transit service,” said Farrell, who played a key role in negotiations over the package.
Beyond the local transportation funding options, the transportation package also includes nearly $1 billion in new funding for bicycle, pedestrian, transit and rail improvements.
There are several projects relating to State Route 522 in the revenue package as well, including completing improvements in Kenmore, improving speed and reliability from Shoreline to Lake Forest Park, and studying ways to improve the corridor through Lake Forest Park. These projects will receive a combined allocation of $12 million.
“We have successfully worked to invest in safe sidewalks for our children to walk to school, and commuters to walk to buses,” said Pollet. “We’ll be funding a long-needed bridge over I-5 for pedestrians and cyclists between the Northgate Transit Center and North Seattle Community College, and pedestrian safety along Lake City Way and Bothell Way.”
Other improvements funded by the revenue package include:
• Sidewalk and disability access improvements to the SR 522/165th interchange
• Completion of the Burke-Gilman Trail