Blueprint for Progress

The Blueprint for Progress is a plan recommended by the RTID Planning Committee that proposes regional road and bridge investments in key highway corridors in Snohomish, Pierce and King Counties. It describes the investments for key corridors (e.g., SR 522, I-405, SR 520, SR 167), funding sources, projects and construction schedules.

A first draft of the Blueprint for Progress was developed in 2006. The RTID Executive Board recommended a revised draft in January 2007. After gathering and considering public comments about the revised draft, the RTID Planning Committee recommended this Blueprint for Progress on June 8, 2007. It has been approved for the November ballot by the Snohomish, King and Pierce County Councils as part of the Roads & Transit plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the RTID Planning Committee?
The Regional Transportation Investment District (RTID) Planning Committee was created by the Washington State Legislature. It was charged with developing a transportation package to submit to voters in the fall of 2007 for reducing congestion and making safety improvement by investing in highways and bridges in Snohomish, King and Pierce Counties. The Planning Committee is made up of all the members of the Snohomish, King and Pierce County Councils and is chaired by the Secretary of Transportation, who is a non-voting member.

What is the Blueprint for Progress?
The Blueprint for Progress is a regional road and bridge investment plan being submitted to voters. If approved, it would fund investments in key highway corridors in Snohomish, Pierce and King Counties. The Blueprint describes the investments by corridor (i.e., SR 522, I-405, SR 520, SR 167), the projects and their funding sources.

How was the Blueprint developed?
Over four years ago the RTID Planning Committee, with WSDOT and PSRC, analyzed which highway corridor investments would provide the greatest congestion-relief benefits. The RTID Planning Committee sought the most value for transportation dollars by building on recent state-funded improvements and developing a schedule that minimized construction impacts. They also worked closely with Sound Transit to build an integrated, connected system of roads and transit improvements to give people more choices and keep our region moving.

How were projects selected for the Blueprint?
The RTID Executive Board began with a list of projects proposed by the Snohomish, King and Pierce County Executives. The Board then worked with constituents, local jurisdictions and transportation agencies to refine the list and identify available funding. The Board also developed a set of principles to evaluate the proposed projects:

  • Reduce congestion and mprove safety and reliability;
  • Finish or leverage projects underway in highly traveled traffic corridors;
  • Improve travel time for people and freight, especially during peak commute hours;
  • Phase construction of highway improvements and  regional transit projects;
  • Keep the investment package affordable;
  • Integrate road and transit investments to improve travel in the region’s significant transportation corridors.

What is the total cost of the Roads & Transit plan?
Roads & Transit capital investments are creating assets worth approximately $17.8 billion in 2006 dollars ($10.8 billion for Sound Transit and approximately $7 billion for RTID).

How much is it going to cost a household in the RTID district?
This measure would impose an additional one-tenth of one percent sales tax and vehicle license fee of eight-tenths of one percent. The sales tax for each household would be determined by specific spending habits of each household while the motor vehicle fees can be calculated if you know the value of your car. For example, an owner of a car worth $10,000 would pay $80, and the owner of a $5,000 car would pay $40.

What are the districts and how will the single ballot work?
The RTID district encompasses the entire Sound Transit district within Snohomish, King, and Pierce counties. It also includes areas north and east of the Snohomish County Sound Transit district. The residents who live in the RTID district outside of the Sound Transit district would only be subject to the RTID taxes.

Voters in the entire RTID district will vote on Roads & Transit. Auditors in each county (Snohomish, King, and Pierce) will tabulate all of the votes within the RTID district to determine if the measure passed. Auditors will also tabulate the votes caste within the Sound Transit district (in all three counties) to determine if the measure was successful within the Sound Transit district. For the proposal to be successful it has to pass in both districts. If it passes in one district but fails in the other the measure fails.

What are the next steps for crafting the integrated RTID and Sound Transit regional roads and transit proposal?
The RTID Planning Committee recommended the Blueprint for Progress, and it was approved for placement on the November 2007 ballot by the three county councils and the three county executives.

Is RTID proposing a toll for SR 520?
RTID leaders announced a financing strategy to complete the funding for the SR 520 corridor from I-5 to I-405, including replacing the bridge with a four-lane highway and two HOV lanes.  This strategy (which was required under state law) was developed to provide the state with choices to consider in determining how to best fund the SR 520 corridor project.

This strategy outlines the current funds that are set aside for the project and a series of policy choices yet to be considered. When combined, these funds can cover any of the current cost estimates for the project. The policy choices include $1.1 billion from the Roads & Transit vote, consideration of tolls (on SR 520 only and approximately $3 each way in 2018 dollars) and decisions by the state to minimize financing costs and use of sales tax transfers on transportation construction projects.

The state or its future tolling agency will determine if, when and how much to toll on state highways and bridges. The region will also be involved in that future discussion.

What will the tolls be for SR 520?
The state or its future tolling agency will determine if, when and how much to toll on which state highways and bridges. The region will also be involved in that future discussion.

The RTID financial strategy assumed a $3.00 toll each way on the bridge imposed in 2018 when the new facility opens. This amount is comparable to what will be collected in 2018 for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

James Collins
 

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