Rep. Valdez: What’s Next for Transportation?

Saturday, January 25, 2020

From Rep. Javier Valdez D-46

The passage of Initiative 976 means a loss of over $450 million in revenue for the state transportation budget.

The initiative is being challenged in court, but the trial hasn’t started yet. We will probably learn the initiative’s final fate after we conclude this short 60-day session.

It’s a myth — despite what you may have seen in the 2019 voter’s guide — that we can simply tap the state rainy day fund to replace the missing funds. The rainy day fund is meant for the operating budget, which pays for public schools, colleges, parks and non-transportation costs. The state constitution prevents lawmakers from spending this fund without a supermajority vote and certain conditions, like an economic recession.

All of that means that the transportation budget has to be balanced now, however painful possible delays may be.

Many state transportation projects have been delayed, not canceled. This includes the SR 522 Crossing Study in Kenmore and the SR 104/40th Pl NE Roundabout in Lake Forest Park. The Governor put these projects on hold. I am happy to announce that funding for the Sammamish River Bridge replacement in Kenmore has not been affected. This project is still on track to move forward.

We need more investments in transit, ferries, trains, and multimodal options to reduce traffic gridlock on our highways and safely get people where they need to be. As a daily metro bus rider, I am invested in finding innovative ways to keep Washington moving. Like so many of you, I can’t wait for 2021, when I can ride the light rail to work from Northgate.

Rep. Valdez represents the 46th Legislative District which includes Kenmore, Lake Forest Park and northeast Seattle.


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