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July 1, 2022

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I-5 Bridge project funding back to $1B in transportation package

Chance in funding sources necessitated reduction from previous $1.2B

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

After an evening of last-minute negotiations, the final contributions for the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program in the Washington Legislature’s transportation package is $1 billion.

The conference committee report including the entire transportation package, which was released at noon on Wednesday, was voted out of the committee Wednesday afternoon.

Because a tax on fuel exports was taken out as a revenue source in the transportation package, funding for all the projects in the $16 billion transportation package had to come from other sources.

“We’ll get $56 million a year from the public works trust account and we’ll get, from the operating budget, another $56 million a year for 15 years. That’s how we made up the difference,” state Rep. Jake Fey, D-Tacoma, said by phone Wednesday morning.

The two new sources did not add up to the original amount, said state Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver. The bridge project funding was thus set at $1 billion instead of $1.2 billion.

“Regardless, we are committed to full funding of the project, and can adjust when we are certain of the final bridge costs,” added the senator.

State Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver, said the package will focus less on new projects and more on maintenance and preservation.

“That’s why we listened to trucking companies that said we need good transit, because it means the roads last longer and people can be moved and products can be moved as well,” Wylie said in a phone interview.

Wylie said that focus includes replacing the Interstate 5 Bridge.

“Our bridge is everybody’s bridge. It is of statewide significance,” she said.

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