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Coalition says Washington needs $190 billion for better infrastructure

UPDATED: Mon., March 20, 2017

OLYMPIA – Washington needs some $190 billion in infrastructure improvements over the next 20 years and must be ready to take advantage of any new federal program to help rebuild them, a coalition of business and government groups said Monday.

While they aren’t taking sides on how the federal government should help pay for new or improved highways, bridges, sewers or utilities, representatives of the groups said they will be lobbying the state’s congressional delegation to be active in upcoming discussions to develop new programs.

The Association of Washington Business, Association of Washington Cities, Washington State Association of Counties and Washington Ports said they have formed an unprecedented coalition to lobby for needed infrastructure money, even though there’s no definite proposal yet from the new administration.

They want to be prepared to act when there is a proposal and “speak with a singular voice,” said Eric Johnson, executive director of the counties association.

While the options available to the federal government are wide-ranging, “our needs are clearly defined,” said Peter King, of the cities association.

The coalition issued a report – essentially a study of other studies on the state’s infrastructure needs – that concluded Washington needs over the next 20 years include:

    • $134 billion on highways and local roads
    • $18.7 billion on stormwater systems
    • $12.6 billion on aviation facilities
    • $5.3 billion on drinking and agricultural water
    • $4.6 billion on fish and habitat
    • $4.6 billion on electric transmission networks
    • $4.2 billion on bridges
    • $4 billion on wastewater systems

Kris Johnson, of the business association, said many of those needs are hampering the state’s economy today. That will only get worse as the state population grows by an estimated 2 million people by 2040, he said.

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