A Bridges and Roads Task Force will explore funding solutions for the rapidly deteriorating County road network
King County Executive Dow Constantine and County Councilmember Kathy Lambert today named a number of regional leaders and community members to a panel charged with recommending sustainable solutions for funding bridges and roads in unincorporated King County.
"Providing safe and reliable roads is a top priority, but the system for funding them hasn't been revisited in nearly 30 years, and it no longer works," said Executive Constantine. "We must create a sustainable and regional solution to get our roads back on track."
"The Bridges and Roads Task Force is an opportunity for all the people of King County - the people who use these roads - to be part of the solution," said Councilmember Lambert. "Through the work of this task force, we'll look for new ways to solve our serious road funding problems so we can keep our communities moving and connected."
The Bridges and Roads Task Force will convene Wednesday, August 12 and meet monthly through January 2016 at the Mercer Island Community Center. Its mission is to develop recommendations for funding repair and maintenance of deteriorating bridges and roads in unincorporated King County. The Task Force will provide opportunities to connect communities, build partnerships, and encourage public stewardship, as well as build a constituency and momentum in support of regional solutions.
Members include residents of the unincorporated areas, elected officials, representatives from agriculture and recreation organizations, road experts, and public policy leaders. See the list of members here.
Nearly three decades of annexations, declines in gas tax revenues, and the effects of voter initiatives have led to chronic underfunding of county roads across the state. Beyond the inadequate tax base and revenue tools, King County must care for an aging infrastructure that is both geographically unique and urban, suburban and rural - all part of the county's diverse service area.
A King County task force convened in 1996 predicted this unsustainable lack of revenue for county bridges and roads. The new panel will be asked to respond to those findings and recommendations and examine short-term and long-term ways to accomplish the same goals, working in collaboration with regional and statewide leaders.
King County maintains about 1,500 miles of roads and 181 bridges. Over the next 25 years, without funding for repair or maintenance, 35 bridges and 72 miles of roadway may need to be restricted or closed due to severe deterioration.
The County road system supports more than one-million trips per day - people from all across the region traveling to work, school, and recreation. Businesses and farmers use the roads to deliver goods and services; first responders rely on them to deliver life-saving services. About half the trips on the high-volume roads originate not only in cities, but in other counties.
Learn more about the King County Bridges and Roads Task Force at www.kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/roads/roads-task-force.aspx.