This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.
The P-I has a vague and rather uninformative article on a new financing scheme for replacing the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge (a.k.a. the 520 bridge). Fortunately, Mike Lindblom at the Times is much more detailed:
The latest strategy improves on earlier versions by slashing a potential $340 million in construction taxes and financing costs for a possible $4.4 billion, six-lane span across Lake Washington.
If the Legislature agrees, the “Regional Transportation Investment District” would fund several highway projects using high-rated, low-interest state bonds, for a potential savings of $200 million. And it might save an additional $140 million in sales taxes — paid on construction materials and other items — if the state funnels that money back into the RTID.
Even after those steps, questions remain about whether the funding plan is solid.
Today’s announcement says that tolling, previously assumed to raise $700 million, might bring in as much as $1.2 billion, without a real plan on the table yet. And, the group assumes Highway 520 can use money from a future cash pool worth $600 million to $1 billion, but that pool must be shared with the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Another $1.1 billion hinges on whether voters pass the regional ballot measure.
So, with some simple changes to the arithmetic, the bridge is suddenly fully funded! Does that seem a bit dodgy to anyone? Sounds like the planners want to kick the can down the road, figuring that if they can paper over the financing for now, it’ll just mean that we have to go with a cheaper option down the road.