Here’s a doc with the state’s stimulus list for their highway money, and here’s a map (links via Publicola).  The list is all bad, and there’s not even a single project in Seattle, home to 10% of the state’s population and 30% of the state’s jobs. Nice work, Olympia!

I can’t say I expected anything different.

51 Replies to “State Stimulus List”

  1. At least the I-5 Tacoma HOV lanes got funded. I think that is the only positive thing I see in there.

    1. The legislature is telling Seattle that they will have to pay their share of the gold plating they want for the Viaduct Replacement.

      While some may see this as the State bullying the City it is in fact the proper response to Seattle and it’s bully ‘consensus’ political crap spewed by it’s xenophobic media.

  2. This is absurd. The only silver lining is that the Times is reporting that this might derail the tunnel plans. One can hope.

    But really, maybe Seattle should threaten to secede from the state.

    1. Please do – Olympia is sending you a message – use your PC Bully Consensus stuff to extort more than your share and you will get exactly what you deserve.

      Your rules, funny how you all squeal when they get applied to you!

  3. “Seattle, home to 10% of the state’s population”

    Oh wah. You said it yourself right there. Do you expect the other 90% of the state to sit back while their roads projects fall through the cracks… literally? Disclaimer: I live in Seattle but frequent the South Sound where my family is feeling really jaded by Seattle stealing all the tax dollars for the new tunnel and the 520 bridge when there are important projects that would have significantly improved the lives of south sounders that are now being axed. There’s a significant population center near Fort Lewis and McChord and families that live in areas east of the bases that don’t have base access are getting shafted. No more Highway 510 Yelm Loop and I’d wouldn’t be surprised if the SR704 Cross Base highway never gets finished either. I bet you don’t know what it’s like to take 30 minutes to drive through a town with the population of 3,000 because there is no highway bypass.

    Get over yourself.

    1. Your comment represents the exact sort of politicization of the process that shouldn’t be occurring right now. We need to invest these stimulus funds in smart ways that generate jobs. Investing in Seattle’s infrastructure is a no-brainer: keeping Seattle moving keeps the State’s coffers full.

      Does the Seattle Metro area “steal tax dollars” or do we generate the overwhelming majority of the gas tax revenues that fund highway construction? The metro area is home to 50% of the State’s population. So we can afford more expensive projects like the SR-520.

      1. I think the historical number is that seattle gets something like 109% for every dollar they put in while the Pierce County portion of the ‘Seattle Metro Area’ gets 94%. Before this it used to be that Seattle got all the social service money and Eastern Washington the roads. Complicated subjects and you should take the time to educate yourself at least a bit before jumping to such strong conclusions.

        Negative politics create negative outcomes for everyone, except the Seattle Lawyers!

        FWIW, also, in Gregoire’s proposal this year Pierce County got way less than 94%, more like totally hosed.

    2. Steal tax dollars? You have no clue what you are talking about.

      Tax dollars from Seattle fund projects all over this state. If anything, the small communities have been leaching off Seattle for years. I’m sure Lewis County generates enough tax dollars on their own to improve I-5, right?

      Get a clue.

      1. Douglas
        Why all the mean, spiteful attack? This a forum to exchange ideas and share our experiences that could improve our commnunity.

    3. Fine, tell you what, each county keeps all of the gas tax, sales tax, B&O tax, and property tax money collected in that county and spends it as it sees fit.

      Have fun paying for the Cross-Base highway on your own.

  4. Except for the 405/520 braided ramps it seems there is hardly anything in King county. In fact the 4 counties in the PSRC all pretty much got stiffed.

    1. Spokane and tri-cities, too, which makes it look like olympia is spending it’ss $330 mn in the places the other $160 mn won’t get spent.

  5. Fair or not Mercer is a city street and Seattle is responsible for it. That’s why in the so called “viaduct” funding the city portion is divided out for surface street upgrades and the state is the major contributor to the viaduct/tunnel/catapult portion that is State Route 99 and the Port has to pony up for the seawall. It’s not like there aren’t things that need to be fixed on SR99 and what about I–5 off ramp changes in downtown Seattle.

    Aren’t the Mayors supposed to get a portion of the stimulus in addition of what’s coming to the state?

    1. Slight aside, but the Port of Seattle neither owns nor maintains the seawall that’s part of the AWV project. That is City of Seattle responsibility as well.

      1. So the state builds a highway along the waterfront and the city must bear all of the burdens coming from that? Of course not. The port uses this corridor heavily, so they should share the burden.

      2. It appears that everyone and their dog has some financial interest in the seawall. Since part of it’s purpose is to stabilize the SR 99 structure Nickels would have had a good case in asking for funds for this. Going to be a tough sell this time around though if the money’s “already spent”.

        The Port is willing to kick in a couple million because surface transport is critical to it’s business. These numbers are old but they’ve been a player in recent schemes including the deep bore tunnel. If symbolism is important, and remember this is politics then you can point to the fact that most of the Washington state exports that ship out of Seattle are bulk goods like wheat from Eastern Washington.

  6. Yep, that is just about as bad a list as you would ever expect to see. And it is not just Seattle that is getting totally stiffed, but most of the Puget Sound Tri-county area is too. Other than the I-5 HOV lanes in Tacoma and the I-405 braided ramps, there is almost exactly ZERO investment in the 3 counties that represent most of the State’s population, most of the State’s jobs, and most of the State’s tax base. Way to go Olympia – NOT!

    Per who subsides who, it’s an established fact that the King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties subsidize most of the rest of the state. But I’m getting tired of even arguing about it. Maybe it is time for a different approach.

    Sound Transit has a sub-area equity policy and it has worked reasonably well. It might finally be time to stop these stupid games that the Legislature wants to play with transportation funding and institute some sort of sub-area equity policy on the State level – say something like “All transportation related revenue which is raised in a given county must be spent in that same county.” Set it up so the law expires after 10 years if not renewed and put it to a statewide vote – I bet most of E. Washington would even vote for it.

    1. Roads and transit are great and all and I like the gas tax because it is an incentive to be efficient and that it’s sort of a user fee. In the big picture though the State has X number of dollars to spend on all of it’s needs. If all the dollars from gas tax go to the counties where they were generated should all the money from State timber sales go only to the counties where they’re harvested?

      1. The difference it that there’s not a state law saying we have to spend timber profits on logging, whereas it’s right in the constitution that gas money goes to roads. If you taxed my fuel to build trains out in Eastern Washington I’d be fine with it. But they’re taxing us to build out exurban sprawl.

      2. Well they are very different taxes to be sure. Timber sales go to education. Seattle gets a windfall here with the University of Washington. And those logs don’t get to market without roads. While I agree the densest metropolitan areas put more into the system than the less populated areas we still enjoy benefits from the rest of the roads in the state. I’m sure there’s far more people from King County that drive over I-90 (or North Cascades and Stevens Pass) than there are people from the east side coming over to “enjoy” Seattle traffic. If nobody lived over there I’d still want to maintain a state highway system.

      3. UW only benefits Seattle? Last time I checked they let people in from elsewhere in the state too.

      4. The windfall to Seattle is that it’s located here. People are drawn to the UW and Seattle benefits from campus construction jobs, faculty jobs, housing demand near campus, etc. People coming from all over the world are bringing money here. In addition many of them stay bringing growth to the area. Another huge benefit is the numerous business that have spun off from UW research. Physio Control (now Medtronics) and ATL (now part of Siemans I think) are a couple I can think of. The biotech industry here exists primarily because of the UW.

      5. Yes Bernie, Seattle is home to institutions like UW, a strong biotech sector, and a large downtown. That is why we need the infrastructure. Not because taxes should be divvied out per capita, but because we are the major economic region in the state.

      6. An overwhelming amount of money is spent on Seattle and King County. When built I-90 was the most expensive roadway per mile ever. It’s still a colossus. State money maintains the 520 floating bridge which is getting to the point tolls may be needed just to seal the cracks. How much is WSDOT spending on the on I-405 corridor over the next ten years vs I-90 from Ellensburg to Spokane?

        Sure money from “road taxes” flows out of King County to the rest of the state but Seattle wouldn’t have a port if it wasn’t for I-90 and I-5. Porportionally the greater Puget Sound area uses State and Federal highways outside the region far more than those outside the region use “our” roads. “Seattle infrastructure” extends way past county lines.

        You know the system is reasonably equitable when both sides are screaming foul ;-)

      7. The timber sales money goes to local school districts, community and technical colleges, Central Washington University, Eastern Washington University, The Evergreen State College, The University of Washington, Washington State University, and Western Washington University. As well as the various branch campuses.

        Yes the UW does get construction money from timber sales, but the revenue from the University Tract is far more important.

      8. I’d rephrase Bernie’s comment as “without the BNSF and UP lines Seattle wouldn’t have a port” – the freeways alone aren’t sufficient.

      9. Can we just agree that it’s complicated? Taxes come from everywhere in differing amounts and are spent everywhere in differing amounts. People drive on roads close to home and far from home. Half the state population lives on relatively more expensive Puget Sound, half lives in the more spread out rest of the state.

      10. Very true that we need the rail and freeway connections (both Seattle and Tacoma) as our nations freight system is dependent on both and the connections between ship, train and truck. In fact we can add the airport to the mix as well for both business travel and air cargo.

    2. The Sound Transit sub area equity requirement is a good one, unfortunately ST 2 largely abandoned the the principle. Pierce County is definitely getting hosed on that one, just as we got totally hosed by Gregoire in her 2009-11 Transportation budget, cutting basically everything in order to fund the viaduct replacement out of an already overextended pot.

      Consider also that the stimulus is meant to be spent in areas that are economically hurting – NOT IN THOSE THAT CREATED THE PROBLEM!

      1. Douglas, equity is measured and every single dollar raised in Pierce County will be used for transit investment or service in Pierce County.

      2. Actually I believe there is a way to dump the sub-area equity but it requires a super majority of the board. Which is highly unlikely due to the way board representation is spread out.

  7. Can someone please just raise the freakin gas tax by 50 cents or a dollar per gallon so we can at least see all our projects completed within our lifetime?

    1. Even better would be to apply the sales tax to gas. One nice thing is the money could be spent on non-road uses like sidewalks, streetlights, bike paths, and transit.

  8. This is a very boring list indeed and so now are Mercer Mess, King Street renovation, and everything for Amtrak off the list? Everyone has their lists – at city, county and state level, so who will be the final winners and losers. What is the final answer to all of our projects?

    1. In the list I saw the M Street to Lakewood portion of the Amtrak/Sounder reroute got 11+ million.

      There are still additional pots of money to be spent, PSRC gets one, as do individual local governments.

  9. Well, I saw the map, I can’t say it’s all bad. For transit, its bad. As for Road projects, the concrete rehab projects on I-90 over the pass and I-5 down in Longview/Kelso are pretty good returns for the money considering we are still driving on I-5 in Seattle on the original concrete. 40-50 years is a pretty good return on investment. The HOV Lane project in Tacoma is also a good long term investment.

    If it was up to me and I still had to spend money on roads, I’d axe the money for the cameras and some of the chip seal projects and put it into fixing some traffic chokepoints.

    1. If I was to turn my attention to roads, I would add better signage to all of our freeways in the Seattle area so that destinations along the roadways are better shown. For example – and I know this is federal highway policy – but when I get on the I-90 in Seattle and go eastbound, I would like a sign showing not me but those perhaps unfamiliar to the area – that there are a few intermediate towns between Seattle and Spokane that you can get to along the I-90. Bellevue and Issaquah spring to mind. There is not one sign showing drivers in the Seattle area that you can reach Issaquah along the I-90 corridor (or Bellevue for that matter either)

      I’d also like to see way better signage for SeaTac Airport. The only sign in the City of Seattle that I have ever seen for the airport is a bike lane path in Pioneer Square district. I believe we should make it much clearer as one joins the I-5 in downtown Seattle that the airport can be found by going southbound in ‘x’ number of miles. There is also NOT ONE sign for SeaTac Airport anywhere on the I-90 – appropriate signs would be before the I-405 interchange both on the 405 and on the 90 or before the interchange with the I-5 south. By way of contrast, in England, Heathrow Airport is signed from every motorway pouring into London and from 50 miles away on all the major motorways. So too is Gatwick Airport a less busy airport than SeaTac I believe.

      The other road improvements I would like to see are more use of British style cats eyes in the freeway lanes (there are none east of Issaquah making the I-90 a dark slab of laneless black in the wintertime)and an attempt at least to introduce different colored on and off ramp side reflectors – again such as we have in England.

      End of my soap box, but it is a huge pet peeve for me both of the above points

      Tim

      1. I agree on the signs. Road signage could be much better.

        On the other hand I suspect the reason there are no cat-eyes past Issaquah has to do with the need to plow Snoqualmie pass. The Tiger Mountain area is where you start seeing frequent snow on I-90. Raised reflectors would just get broken off by the plow every time it passed.

      2. Yes that was the explanation that WSDOT gave me but driving past Issaquah is made all the more treacherous as a result of poor lane stripping and no sunken cats eyes such as we have in England

  10. I can only assume the legislature picked projects that weren’t likely to come out of one of the other buckets of money. There are still the funds the PSRC gets to distribute for instance.

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