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About I-976

I-976 repeals more than $12 billion of the state’s transportation funding.

Download the fact sheet here.

This essentially stops resources going to state, regional and local infrastructure projects, crippling our ability to fix dangerous highways, retrofit bridges and overpasses, fund transit, expand light rail, maintain ferries, build voter-approved projects, and improve the freight corridors that are the lifeblood of our economy.

I-976 also specifically targets funds that pay for special services for seniors, veterans, children and the disabled. Other services who depend on transportation funding, such as the Washington State Patrol, could also be hurt.

Even local projects, approved by local voters, would be hit. Local communities use Transportation Benefit Districts (TBD) to pay for road construction, maintenance and local transit service. I-976 would eliminate $60 million in TBD funding for 63 cities as diverse as Zillah, Wenatchee, Mercer Island, Everett, Buckley and Mabton. Click here to see the list of affected Washington cities.

Projects at Risk

Here is more detail about the transportation projects threatened by I-976.

“Connecting Washington”

The Legislature developed and passed Connecting Washington in 2015 with bipartisan support. The package makes critical investments in our transportation system, and funds large projects across the state. I-976 puts critical projects in danger of never being completed. It also weakens our whole economy by keeping us from moving people and goods efficiently around the state. Projects in the Connecting Washington package that have not started construction or still have significant construction work remaining include:

  • Completion of widening over I-90/Snoqualmie Pass
  • North/South freeway/US 395 project in Spokane
  • SR 520 West End
  • I-405 widening
  • SR 167/SR 509 Puget Sound Gateway

Ferries, Rail & Freight Mobility

Roads are not the only projects in danger: Our farmers and manufacturers depend on good rail and freight mobility, and commuters, residents and visitors all depend on a safe and robust ferry system.

  • $1.3 billion in ferry vessel improvements between now and 2031
  • Amtrak service connecting Western Washington with British Columbia and Oregon
  • Freight mobility projects like new bridges, railroad sidings, better port roads, and heavy rail corridor improvements support agriculture and manufacturing

Safety

  • Washington State Patrol ($15 million a year at risk)
  • Highway safety projects including retrofitting bridges and overpasses

Transportation Options

The public increasingly wants robust transportation options, which is why multimodal transit is important.

  • Vanpools
  • Special needs transit (seniors, veterans, disabled)
  • Regional Mobility Grants (about $100 million every two years)
  • Expansion of transit and bus centers, such as Rapid Ride Lines, Bus Rapid Transit, expansion of park and ride facilities, safe routes to schools, pedestrian safety, bike infrastructure

Local Transportation Benefit Districts (TBD):  $60 million in funding every year is at risk to pay for road construction, maintenance and local transit service in 63 cities. Cities who currently use the TBD authority for car tabs: Seattle, Des Moines, Kalama, Lake Forest Park, Shoreline, University Place, Bainbridge Island, Battle Ground, Black Diamond, Bremerton, Buckley, Carbonado, Covington, East Wenatchee, Eatonville, Edgewood, Edmonds, Electric City, Elmer City, Everett, George, Grandview, Granite Falls, Kelso, Kittitas, Lakewood, Longview, Mabton, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, Mountlake Terrace, Normand Park, Orting, Port Orchard, Richland, Roy, Royal City, Sedro Woolley, Snoqualmie, Soap Lake, Spokane, Toppenish, Wapato, Washougal, Wenatchee, Yakima, and Zillah.

Sound Transit: $7 billion in funding is at risk for multi-county light rail expansion, bus rapid transit and commuter rail that will create new connections in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Voters approved the third Sound Transit package in 2016.

Resources

The state did an analysis of I-976 when it was being considered by the Legislature in the 2019 session. Here are some supporting documents, detailing the projected project impact.

Summary Sheet (Feb. 2019)

Detailed Fiscal Note (Office of Financial Management, Feb. 2019)