June 17, 2021

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Gov. Jay Inslee pushes lawmakers to propose transportation infrastructure plan

Lawmakers of both parties have cited transportation infrastructure needs such as bridges throughout Washington state.

SEATTLE — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee asked the state legislature on Friday to come up with a concrete plan for transportation infrastructure and maintenance.

The issue has not been a priority in a year with so much focus on pandemic and economic relief, as well as getting kids back in school.

But Inslee in an appearance in Seattle was flagged by the transportation directors for Washington state and city of Seattle, who listed a variety of issues with bridges, like the one in West Seattle.

The call for a transportation infrastructure plan comes as traffic has been significantly down.

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, traffic on State Route 520 on Friday is down 47% from the same date in 2019. Near the Ship Canal Bridge on Interstate 5, traffic is down 14% from the same date two years ago.

But Inslee said infrastructure maintenance can’t wait.

“We can only defer maintenance for so long,” he said. “The jig is up.”

Democrats and Republicans have floated a variety of transportation packages, which would last several years. They include variables like gas taxes, carbon taxes, or using existing funding resources.

Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, has specifically earmarked spending on the US 2 trestle, along with the Columbia River Bridge and West Seattle bridges.