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Road Services - Our future

What's at risk

King County Road Services manages 1,500 miles of county roads and 180 bridges that carry more than 1 million trips per day. The 250,000 residents of unincorporated areas receive roadway, drainage, shoulder, and right of way maintenance and operations services directly from King County. These systems are aged and deteriorating.

The funding Road Services receives from local property tax, gas tax and grant funding has declined by one-third since 2009. The median single family home in unincorporated King County paid approximately $80 less in roads levy related property taxes in 2013 than they did in 2011. The amount of funding available for the county road system in 2014 will be $85 million, while the cost to keep roadway system assets in their current condition is estimated at $200 million a year.

Below is a map of bridges and roads listed in King County’s Transportation Needs Report.


At risk map legend

Roadway reconstruction and bridge needs

The funding gap

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 due to a drop in property values in the rural and urban unincorporated areas of King County, and losses from annexations. The median single family home in unincorporated King County paid approximately $80 less in roads levy related property taxes in 2013 than they did in 2011.

Pothole repair has been reduced to 65 percent of 2010 levels. The county's road overlay program is shrinking; in 2013 seven miles of roadway were contracted for repaving compared to 40 miles in 2010. Snow removal and storm response continues to be reduced, with two-thirds fewer roads identified as primary plow routes this winter than just a few years ago.

Shortfall chart
Enlarged view (192KB .pdf)

What we've been doing to reduce costs

  • Cut 40 percent of staff positions – including 58 of management staff – resulting in a total payroll reduction of $19.4 million.

  • Achieved savings of more than $800,000 per year in equipment and office space consolidation.

  • Froze employee cost-of-living wage increases, saving $4.7 million since 2011.

  • Shifted focus from capacity improvements to safety needs, preservation, and repair.

  • Developed the Strategic Plan for Road Services and a system to prioritize our work in the communities of unincorporated King County.


You can play a part in Road Services' future...

Learn more about what the legislature is considering. External link

Share your story about why county roads are important to you.

Join our conversation on the RoadWise blog.

Sign up to stay informed of plans or policies that will affect service.

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Call 206-263-9979 or email us.

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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News from Brenda Bauer, Road Services Division Director

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