The passage of Initiative 976 has put dozens of state road constructions on hold, even those funded by other taxes and fees.
State transportation officials released a list at the end of November of more than 90 specific projects it will put on hold due to I-976.
The five most expensive plans on the Washington State Department of Transportation's delay list are all funded with gas tax dollars.
Future tolls also were supposed to fund the costliest project on the list, extending State Route 509 from the City of Seatac to Kent and I-5.
Work would have started next summer.
Project administrators have been told the delay could last six months for state lawmakers to re-prioritize and re-write transportation budgets.
"We've already paid into this road and we need to see it get built," said Kent Mayor Dana Ralph.
Ralph said she believes the project will be completed, but she worries how long the delay will last.
“The work to determine which projects are postponed is not simple, nor a task taken lightly,” Washington Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar wrote in a memo Thursday. “This list reflects deliberative work as transportation projects are complex.”
I-976, which voters approved earlier this month, caps car-tab fees to $30. Soon after the initiative passed, Washington Governor Jay Inslee instructed the Washington State Department of Transportation to postpone projects that were not yet underway in anticipation of a budget shortfall.
The state Office of Financial Management estimates the initiative will cut more than $4 billion in tax revenue by 2025. WSDOT estimates it will lose $451 million out of a $6.7 billion budget for the 2019-21 biennium. For the 2021-23 budget, it expects to lose $645 million, and for the 2023-25 budget, it expects to lose $726 million, according to the memo.
On the list of impacted projects, WSDOT identified 26 state construction projects that were scheduled to go out to advertisement in the next six months, 38 local agency projects that are state funded but don’t have an executed agreement or a portion of funds are not under agreement, six rail grant projects with no executed agreements, and 24 public transportation grants with no executed agreement.
Some of the big-ticket items in western Washington include:
- State Route 509 completion: Widening and adding toll lanes on SR 509 from 28th/24th Avenue South to its connection with I-5. It also constructs a diverging diamond interchange at State Route 516 in SeaTac. (Contract: $100 million-$200 million)
- State Route 520/I-5 interchange in Seattle: Creates dedicated, reversible HOV connection between the two freeways. (Contract: $60 million-$70 million)
- I-5 in downtown Seattle: Add an additional lane between the Seneca Street and Olive Way ramps. (contract: $15 million-20 million)
- Covington Connector: Connect Southeast 256th Street at State Route 18 to State Route 516th along the existing 204th Avenue Southeast corridor. (Contract: about $22.4 million)
- Port of Tacoma/I-5 interchange: Stage 2 construction is not under agreement, according to WSDOT. (Contract: $16.2 million)
See the full list of impacted projects here.
These projects are expected to be delayed at least six months.
However, that all assumes I-976 goes into effect Dec. 5, as originally planned. On Wednesday, a King County Superior Court judge approved an injunction against the initiative, temporarily blocking it from going into effect.