Washington State Preps to Invest Federal Dollars in Roads, Rails, and Runways
Hammond said new federal dollars would be timely because WSDOT and local agencies face a backlog of aging transportation infrastructure, which results in a growing need for maintenance and preservation of existing systems. Just last January, WSDOT identified 148 ready-to-go projects across various modes, valued at about $750 million, which would be eligible for a federal funding program.
However, Hammond added that long-term funding is equally, if not more, important than the proposed new $50 billion in funding. She said six-year funding, which comes through reauthorization of the federal transportation bill, provides financial certainty for projects to move forward in Washington state.
“WSDOT and local agencies, and our private-sector partners, have proven that we can deliver projects on time and on budget, and that investing in transportation infrastructure is one of the fastest ways to create and sustain jobs,” Hammond said.
Hammond said American Recovery and Reinvestment Act highway funds between February 2009 and July 2010 have provided the equivalent of nearly 1,500 full-time jobs in Washington state with a payroll of $130 million.
Hammond said Washington’s existing “Moving Washington” plan positions the state nicely for new federal dollars because the plan focuses on projects that:
- Reduce congestion
- Improve safety
- Emphasize preservation and maintenance
- Enhance economic vitality
- Improve personal mobility
- Safeguard the environment
“We also use performance measures in our decision-making and, based on the broad outlines of the Administration’s plan, it appears performance measures may be important in determining where the federal dollars go,” Hammond said. “We look forward to learning more details about the President’s plan and helping to shape programs so that Washington state communities and travelers will benefit.”