Road Services - Our future
What's at risk
The structure for funding roads does not reflect the needs of a modern transportation system that serves an estimated one million daily vehicle trips in a county with a population of nearly two million people. While the county has prudently managed its system by caring for the most pressing problems that affect the most people – even this heightened level of triage is no longer enough to manage the decline today or in the years ahead.
Current levels of funding are not enough to care for the needs of the county's road system. Use this map to locate bridges at risk of closure and road segments in need of reconstruction.
Roadway reconstruction and bridge needs
The funding gap
County roads that connect our communities – roads built generations ago – are failing, and we do not have funding to maintain and preserve them.
The Roads Services Division is supported by local property tax, gas tax and grant funding. All three have declined – since 2009 there has been a one-third decline in funding.
Revenues that support the County Road Fund have fallen dramatically due to a 44 percent drop in property values in the rural and urban unincorporated areas of King County, and losses from annexations.
In 2013, pothole filling and patching will be reduced to nearly 65 percent of 2010 levels. The county's road overlay program is shrinking; in 2013, just 7 miles of deteriorated roadway will be repaved compared to 40 miles in 2010. Snow removal and storm response continues to be diminished.
Deteriorating bridges must also be maintained to avoid road closures and lengthy detours. Without new funding, 35 bridges are at risk of closing over the next 25 years, resulting in road closures, travel disruptions, lengthy detours, and delayed emergency response.
Enlarged view (192KB .pdf)
The county's ability to preserve and maintain its road system will be dependent on how much transportation revenue is available in future years.
- Without additional funding, an $85 million budget will not allow us to care for the whole system
- An additional $55 million in revenue would allow us to manage a declining system
- An additional $115 million would allow us to maximize the life of the road system
- An additional $165 million would allow us invest in capacity so the road system could respond to changing demands
What we've been doing to reduce costs
- We have reduced the division's staff by a third by the end of 2013
- Implemented a number of efficiencies and realized savings from an internal reorganization
- Participated in countywide COLA freezes In order to preserve as much service as possible
- Shifted focus from capacity improvements to safety needs, preservation and repair
- Developed the Strategic Plan for Road Services and created a 5-tiered system to prioritize road services
- County Council has passed several measures to save a small portion of essential road services and projects
- We are working with cities on a modern revenue structure that adequately and fairly funds the transportation that you and our economy need
The State Legislature is responsible for a long-term and sustainable solution. Learn more about new local funding options being sought to adequately maintain roadways.
You can play a part in Road Services' future...
Information from the Road Services Division's website is available to people with disabilities in alternate formats upon request by calling 206-477-3839 or 711 for the TTY relay service.
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