County leadership and members of the Bridges and Roads Task Force are taking their Final Report on the road to discuss recommendations for maintaining and preserving the aging road network in unincorporated King County. First stop – the King County Council of the Whole, followed by the Eastside Transportation Partnership (ETP), SeaShore Transportation Forum and most recently SCATBd – the South County Area Transportation Board which includes representatives from cities in South King County. On March 15, Task Force member Bryce Yadon of Futurewise and Road Services Deputy Director Jay Osborne presented the Task Force’s findings to the SCATBd members. They outlined proposed policy and fiscal strategies. Future meetings include Community Service Areas (CSAs), Puget Sound Regional Council and additional regional groups.
Who’s on the Task Force? The Bridges and Roads Task Force includes regional leaders and community members representing neighborhoods, agriculture, emergency services, recreation organizations, road experts and policy leaders. They attended meetings from August 2015 through January 2016, learning about financial challenges facing King County’s road network. At their final gathering, Task Force members presented their Final Report and Recommendations to Executive Dow Constantine and Councilmember Kathy Lambert.
Why is King County’s road network facing financial challenges? The system for funding maintenance, operation, and replacement of bridges and roads in the unincorporated areas hasn’t been revisited in nearly 30 years, and it no longer works. Nearly three decades of annexations, declines in gas tax revenues, and the effects of voter initiatives have led to the chronic underfunding of the bridge and road system, particularly county roads outside of cities. The current chronic underfunding of our bridges and roads is unsustainable. We must create a long-term regional solution to get our roads back on track.
Who uses King County’s unincorporated roads? The County maintains about 1,500 miles of roads and 181 bridges. More than one million trips are taken on these roads that connect cities each day – people traveling to work, school, and recreation; businesses and farmers delivering goods and services; and police and fire officials responding to emergencies. People from all parts of the county – and beyond – use them. About half the trips on the high-volume roads originate in cities and other counties. In addition, the road right-of-way serves as a pathway for water, sewer, storm water, energy, and communication utilities.
Visit the Bridges and Roads Task Force webpage for more information.