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520 Bridge Finance Plan Falls Short

Liz Jones
04/04/2007

The lion's share of money for a new 520 bridge across Lake Washington is still uncertain. But state leaders are pushing the project forward, saying they anticipate the financing will come through. KUOW's Liz Jones has more.

COMPARE TWO TRANSPORTATION MEGA-PROJECTS IN WASHINGTON STATE: A PROPOSED TUNNEL REPLACEMENT FOR THE ALASKAN WAY VIADUCT, AND A NEW EVERGREEN POINT BRIDGE. WITH THE FAILED TUNNEL PROPOSAL, STATE POLITICAL LEADERS REPEATEDLY ASKED SEATTLE CITY OFFICIALS TO 'SHOW ME THE MONEY.' ALL THE MONEY, NOT JUST SPECULATIVE OR UNCERTAIN MONEY. BUT WITH THE 520 BRIDGE PROJECT, IT APPEARS STATE OFFICIALS ARE TAKING A DIFFERENT APPROACH. THE STATE IS MOVING THE PROJECT FORWARD, DESPITE SHORTFALLS IN THE FINANCING PLAN. ACCORDING TO THE SEATTLE PI, THE STATE HAS SECURED LESS THAN A QUARTER OF THE FUNDS NEEDED FOR THE ESTIMATED 4.4 BILLION DOLLAR PROJECT. THE REMAINING THREE–AND–A-HALF BILLION DOLLARS IS EXPECTED TO COME FROM FEDERAL SOURCES, TOLL REVENUE AND A REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION PACKAGE UP FOR A VOTE NEXT FALL.

AS FOR MOVING THE PROJECT FORWARD, LAWMAKERS ARE CONSIDERING A BILL THAT RELATES TO PROJECT COSTS AND DEFINES THE REPLACEMENT AS A SIX LANE BRIDGE. TRANSPORTATION OFFICIALS, MEANWHILE, HAVE NOT YET FINALIZED THE DESIGN.

THE STATE'S HANDING OF THE 520 PROJECT REFLECTS A MAJOR SHIFT IN HOW THE STATE FINANCES LARGE TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS. IN MARCH, GOVERNOR GREGOIRE AND LAWMAKERS ANNOUNCED SUPPORT FOR BEGINNING SUCH PROJECTS BEFORE ALL THE FINANCING IS SECURED. LIZ JONES, KUOW NEWS.

℗ Copyright 2007, KUOW News

07.22.14

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