Washington transportation bill passes legislature

William He , Reporter

A Washington State Senate Bill, which includes $16.8 billion in investments for projects across the state, including funding for public transportation, bicycle and pedestrian safety, road preservation and maintenance and climate mitigation was approved by the legislature and is awaiting Gov. Inslees’ signature. The bill, Move Ahead Washington, is a 16-year transportation investment package which includes $150 million towards creating a high-speed rail system linking Portland, Oregon with Vancouver, British Columbia. The potential route would take passengers up and down the Interstate 5 corridor at speeds up to 200 miles per hour, making the journey from Seattle to Portland or Seattle to Vancouver about an hour, rather than about three hours.

Funding for the package comes from a variety of sources, including a one-time transfer from the state operating budget and a carbon pricing program. $57 million a year from the state budget and another $57 million a year from the state’s public works account for the next 15 years will also help fund the transportation bill. The legislation also includes significant funding to address the negative environmental, health and economic impacts of past transportation policies and proposes making all public transportation in Washington free for riders ages 18 and under.