The price tag for finishing State Route 167 is not a small amount, estimated between $1.6 billion and $1.8 billion. That cost is for a scaled down version of the project that would still reduce congestion.
Finishing the project might depend on the Legislature passing a $0.10 gas tax, as well as tolls on south Puget Sound highways, according to the Tacoma News Tribune.
The 10-cent gas tax hike is part of a larger transportation package that was presented by House Transportation Committe Chair Judy Clibborn (D-Mercer Island). The gas tax increase would raise $2.5 billion to put towards transportation work including new projects like SR 167. It would be implemented with two cent raises ever year for five years.
The other source of funding would be tolls. Drivers on the new stretches of SR 167 and 509 would be charged to use the roads. Additionally, WSDOT would charge solo drivers to use the carpool lanes on Interstate 5 between State Route 16 in Tacoma and Interstate 90 near downtown Seattle.
WSDOT estimates it could raise a little more than $300 million from the tolls on the new highways and the HOT lanes on I-5, the Tacoma News Tribune said.
Currently, State Route 167 ends in Puyallup. Originally it was planned to connect Renton to Tacoma, but the highway was never completed, stopping in Puyallup in the 1980s when construction was stopped after funding ran out.
The Washington State Department of Transportation wants to complete the route to alleviate congestion, particularly truck traffic from the Port of Tacoma into Kent Valley. The plan includes a connection between State Route 509 and SR 167 that would keep traffic off local streets in Puyallup and Fife.
The total funding currently available for the project is just over $160 million, but WSDOT says it needs at least $1.5 billion more to complete the construction.
Currrently WSDOT is designing the highway and using available funding to purchase as much of the proposed corridor as possible.