Kirkland seeks direct funding and funding options for local governments
At its May 21, 2013 regular meeting, the Kirkland City Council unanimously approved a resolution in strong support of a comprehensive transportation investment package, including direct funding and funding options for local governments. With support for providing state and local transportation revenue among its top State Legislative Priorities in 2013 and after having lobbied consistently for transportation revenue throughout the regular legislative session, the City Council is urging the Washington State Legislature to enact a balanced transportation investment package, in Olympia, during the Special Session to create jobs, relieve congestion, support our businesses, and maintain our quality of life.
In early 2012, the Connecting Washington Task Force released a report identifying $50 billion in unfunded transportation needs and recommending an investment of $21 billion in state funding during the next 10 years for maintenance, preservation, and strategic investments.
“Kirkland city officials began discussing the need for a transportation investment package with our state delegation in October of 2012,” says Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride. “Our State’s transportation system is suffering from disrepair, with a backlog of maintenance and preservation needs,” continues McBride. “Kirkland has $249 million in unfunded street, bridge and sidewalk needs, and these projects are critical for the safety and economic development of the City.”
Recognizing the need for additional local transportation funding, Kirkland's citizens voted in 2012 to approve Proposition 1, a permanent property tax levy which will raise approximately $2.9 million annually to help address a portion of the City’s unfunded transportation needs, but the levy does not alleviate all of the backlog.
If passed, substitute House Bills 1954, 1955 and other related bills that the 2013 Washington State Legislature is considering would provide investments in maintaining and upgrading the state’s transportation system because they will catalyze construction jobs, enhance freight mobility for State ports, and create a pathway for retaining and growing new jobs for key industry sectors.
“This package would provide critical funding for key highway corridor projects throughout the state,” notes Kirkland Deputy Mayor Doreen Marchione. “It includes planning and design funding for the I-405/NE 132nd Street Interchange ramps in Kirkland previously authorized by the legislature.”
Governor Inslee reconvened the legislature in a 30-day special session on Monday, May 13, 2013. While the Governor outlined a narrow agenda for the special session: the two-year state budget (and a subsequent Capital Budget), a roads-and-transit funding package to supplement the Transportation Budget, and a crackdown on impaired drivers. The Legislature is not necessarily bound to the Governor's agenda and may propose other policy issues to consider. Legislators must negotiate and either make cuts to state programs or raise revenue, or include a combination of both.
The Kirkland City Council’s 2013 Legislative Agenda can be found online at www.kirklandwa.gov/council. For more information, contact Lorrie McKay, Intergovernmental Relations Manager, City of Kirkland, at 425-587-3009 or firstname.lastname@example.org.