State and local transportation leaders held a press conference in Seattle yesterday to announce a comprehensive funding strategy to pay for the SR 520 bridge replacement project without the need to raise new “state” taxes. The strategy was prepared as part of the Regional Transportation Improvement District (RTID) planning committee efforts to prepare a transportation package to be submitted to the voters in the November 2007 general election.
The funding strategy which estimates bridge replacement costs between $3.3 and $4.4 billion consists of $1.5 to $1.9 billion in so-called “committed funds” from existing federal and state sources and $1.8 to $2.6 billion in “policy choices” which could come from a combination of RTID investments contained in the November ballot initiative; a $6 round trip toll on the re-built bridge and other options.
According to RTID the funding strategy raises sufficient funding to pay for a six-lane bridge replacement (four general purpose lanes and two HOV lanes), the Pacific Interchange design option and improvements from the lake shore to I-405 and I-5. It is unclear how the funding strategy would accomodate community mitigation that is likely to result from the 18-month mediation process established in legislation enacted this past session, and which should be underway by the end of the month.