Barkis issues statement on negotiated supplemental transportation budget unanimously approved by Legislature

On Thursday, the Washington State Legislature unanimously approved the 2024 supplemental transportation budget, which will provide an additional $1.1 billion on top of the $13.5 billion the 2023-25 transportation budget allocated last year, for a total of $14.6 billion.

Supplemental budget priorities include recruiting and retaining Washington State Patrol troopers, increasing highway safety, preventing and removing graffiti vandalism, and additional maintenance and preservation investments.

Rep. Andrew Barkis, ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee and lead negotiator for the House Republican Caucus, issued the following statement:

“Transportation infrastructure serves as the backbone of economic prosperity in Washington state, facilitating connectivity, accessibility, and trade across various modes, including rail, air, highways, ports, and shipping. Investment in transportation infrastructure is essential for sustaining economic vitality and ensuring the prosperity of communities across the state.

“Despite funding constraints, project delivery complexities, and cost overruns, this bipartisan budget maintains funding levels for approved projects and reflects a commitment to finding solutions and efficiencies through careful budgeting and resource allocation. I applaud negotiators for demonstrating a commitment to fiscal responsibility and adaptability in the face of such challenges. This approach will ensure the continuity of essential infrastructure projects vital for the state’s development and economic growth.

“The budget takes a multifaceted approach aimed at improving public safety and maintaining the integrity of Washington’s transportation infrastructure. One critical aspect of this strategy involves recruiting and retaining Washington State Patrol troopers. The State Patrol plays a pivotal role in ensuring road safety by enforcing traffic laws, responding to emergencies, and providing assistance to motorists. By prioritizing resources for recruitment and retention efforts, we aim to bolster the ranks of these dedicated professionals, thereby strengthening the State Patrol’s capacity to do its job effectively and keep Washingtonians safe.

“The budget also allocates resources towards increasing highway safety measures. The sharp rise in traffic deaths we’ve seen in recent years is not just a statistical trend, but represents lives lost and families shattered. Each fatality on the roads is a tragic event with far-reaching consequences. It is imperative we implement strategies that mitigate risks and prevent accidents on Washington’s roadways.

“Furthermore, the budget emphasizes the importance of combating graffiti vandalism throughout the state. Graffiti not only detracts from the aesthetic appeal of public spaces, but also contributes to a sense of disorder and neglect in communities. Preserving the visual integrity of our transportation infrastructure and enhancing the overall quality of life for our residents is an important priority.

“Lastly, the budget includes additional investments in maintenance and preservation initiatives aimed at prolonging the lifespan of critical transportation assets. By dedicating funding towards routine maintenance activities, such as road resurfacing, bridge repairs, and drainage improvements, the state can prevent minor issues from escalating into costly and disruptive problems. Moreover, investing in preservation measures ensures that transportation infrastructure remains safe, reliable, and functional for years to come, thereby safeguarding the state’s economic prosperity and quality of life for future generations.

“Overall, the supplemental transportation budget represents a balanced and forward-thinking approach to addressing Washington’s transportation needs. It furthers the work we’ve been doing to improve and grow the state’s transportation infrastructure, which is vital for Washington’s overall development and prosperity. I want to thank everyone involved for their earnest and thoughtful work in negotiating the final product.”

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov