Transportation


In 2015, Gov. Inslee led the effort to secure the largest single transportation investment in state history. This $16 billion bipartisan package addresses critical maintenance and safety needs around the state, provides more than 200,000 jobs and funds projects that relieve congestion, improve freight mobility and provide more clean transportation choices.

Current Work

  • Results Washington. Sustainable Transportation
  • Autonomous Vehicles: Washington state is already a leader in autonomous vehicle technology. These vehicles could help save countless lives, reclaim time spent in traffic, improve mobility and be an important tool in our efforts to combat climate change. In June 2017, Governor Inslee signed an executive order to create the Governor’s AV Working Group and further support the safe testing and operation of autonomous vehicles. Read more about the Governor's AV Workgroup.
  • Move Washington forward with a transportation investment package. Gov. Inslee signed the biggest transportation investment in state history into law in July 2015. The package creates jobs, improves road safety, invests in transit, ensures project accountability and funds a historic level of clean transportation projects.
  • Electrification of Washington’s roadways. Gov. Inslee set a goal of 50,000 electric vehicles on Washington’s roads by 2020. To support the growing trend of more drivers choosing to purchase EVs, Gov. Inslee is working to expand the availability of high-speed charging stations, increase incentives and build out our EV infrastructure.
  • Keep our roads safe. Gov. Inslee and the Washington State Patrol are working to reduce highway deaths to zero by 2030 as part of the Target Zero strategic plan.

Key Successes

2019
  • Making electric vehicles more affordable and practical. Electric vehicle incentives and infrastructure were among the key planks of the climate and clean energy package signed by Gov. Inslee for the 2019 session. HB 2042 and the 2019-21 budgets include several provisions to help make EVs more affordable and practical for Washingtonians, including the expansion of a sales tax incentive for the purchase or lease of new EVs under $45,000 as well as used EVs under $30,000. Legislators also doubled funding for the governor’s EV Infrastructure Bank from $1 million to $2 million which will speed up the construction of high speed charging stations across the state. In 2010, there were just 12 publicly accessible charging stations in Washington. Today, we have over 2,400.
  • Electrifying Washington ferry fleets. The 2019-21 transportation budget helps launch the electrification of the state’s ferry fleet with funding for one ferry conversion, and authorization for another. Funding was also provided for the construction of a new electric 144-car ferry, with the option to buy four more. Transitioning these ferries from diesel to electric-hybrid will virtually eliminate engine noise and vibration that can hurt orcas, improve reliability, save up to $14 million a year on ferry operating costs and significantly reduce diesel and carbon emissions.
  • Transitioning public transit to electric power. Legislators approved tax incentives that encourage rapid state and local procurement efforts for EVs and zero-emission transit options, including $200 million for transit grants that can help agencies transition to electric buses, a B&O tax credit to purchase electric para-transit buses for the elderly and people with disabilities, a $1.2 million EV car-sharing grant program for underserved and low-income communities, a sales tax exemption for EV battery components for electric buses and a property-lease tax exemption for EV and fuel cell infrastructure on public land.
  • Developing an ultra-high speed rail corridor. Gov. Inslee has been engaged with regional partners in Oregon and British Columbia to evaluate and develop an ultra high-speed rail corridor that would connect Seattle to Vancouver B.C. and Portland, with points in-between and beyond. Building upon a recent feasibility study and business case analyses that indicate strong economic and environmental benefits, legislators approved funding to further consider how the corridor will be governed, and the operating structure, general powers, legal instruments, and contract requirements, as well as other authorization needed to advance the development of the corridor.
  • Continuing I-5 Columbia River bridge replacement effort. The 2019-21 transportation budget provided funding to the reinvigorated bi-state effort to replace the I-5 Columbia River bridge. The funding will allow Washington State Department of Transportation to reopen a project office to reengage key stakeholders, reevaluate the scope, schedule and budget for the project as well as a reevaluation of permits and to develop a finance plan.
2018
  • Electrify the state vehicle fleet. This year, the governor helped secure up to $5.5 million to replace state-owned gas or diesel passenger vehicles with fully electric vehicles. This continues the governor's effort to double the state's EV fleet.
  • Fund more electric charging stations. Electric vehicle charging stations have helped reduce range anxiety for EV users that need an extra boost on long-distance drives. Charging stations have been installed up and down the I-5 corridor and on some of Washington's east-west freeway corridors. In just a few months, new charging stations displaced 13,500 gallons of gasoline. This year, the governor secured $17 million of the Volkswagen Mitigation Fund for the state’s EV Infrastructure Bank to purchase, install and maintain light duty electric vehicle supply equipment in strategic locations across the state to service EV drivers and accelerate EV adoption.
  • Fund electric transit and school buses. Electrifying bus fleets eliminates tailpipe pollution and dramatically improves air quality. In King County alone, transit takes 175,000 cars off the road each day, which keeps air cleaner, helps reduce traffic and promotes more efficient land use. Gov. Inslee is using some of the Volkswagen settlement funds to help more school districts and transit agencies purchase electric and electric-hybrid buses. 
  • Convert to electric ferries. Converting state ferries from diesel to battery-electric hybrids significantly reduces diesel and carbon emissions, virtually eliminates engine noise that can hurt orcas, improves reliability, and saves up to $14 million on ferry operating costs. Work is underway to plan for electric ferry conversion of the state’s Jumbo Mark II class vessels.
  • Advance a clean ultra high-speed corridor. The State Legislature conducted a feasibility study for a new ultra-high-speed rail corridor connecting Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia with potential stops in Portland and beyond. The results were very promising: we have the critical mass of a growing population, the muscle mass of a strong economy and the traffic problems to justify a new system. The study found that within a few years of operation, ridership could be as high as 1.8 million, and with the right technology, the service could pay for its own operations and maintenance. The economic benefits analysis showed a 20 to 1 return on investment, a reduction of 40,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, removal of up to 17 percent of trips from our freeways and the creation of up to 201,200 jobs per year. As a next step, Gov. Inslee is working with our partners to fund a business case analysis of ridership and revenue to attract further private sector investment.
2017
  • Reduce electric vehicle range anxiety. Gov. Inslee's EV Infrastructure Bank awarded $1 million in grants to install EV fast-charging stations across some of the state’s most traveled freeways. The new charging stations will ensure EV drivers won’t go more than 30 to 50 miles on those roads without finding a public charging station.
  • Ensure the safe testing and operation of autonomous vehicles (AVs). AVs have the potential to save lives, improve mobility and be an important tool in our efforts to combat climate change. In June, the governor signed an Executive Order 17-02 to cultivate and nurture AV innovation and assure safe testing and operation. Since then, over 20 AV technology companies have made Washington state home.
  • Bolster governor's EV Fleets Initiative. In April, Gov. Inslee delivered the first of 100 electric Chevy Bolts for the state fleet. The vehicles were purchased as part of his EV Fleets Initiative, which requires 20 percent of new state sedans to be electric by the end of 2017.
  • Provide I-405 traffic relief. The governor secured $11.5 million to harden the shoulder of I-405 between SR 527 and I-5 in order to add capacity during peak times. In addition, Gov. Inslee funded preliminary engineering to alleviate a traffic choke-point near Bothell.
2016
  • National and international leadership on energy. In February 2016, Gov. Inslee co-led a bipartisan coalition of 17 governors from around the country in an interstate agreement to promote clean energy, economic development, and a new American energy future.
  • Electric vehicle infrastructure. Making significant progress toward Gov. Inslee’s Results Washington goal of 50,000 EVs on the road by 2020, he signed legislation (HB 1853) that will allow utilities to more effectively play a role in building up Washington’s electric vehicle infrastructure.
  • Gov. Inslee signed into law HB 2524, the 2016 transportation supplemental budget that included several of his key priorities including:
    • First steps to addressing recruitment and retention issues at the Washington State Patrol by providing a 5 percent salary increase for troopers, sergeants, lieutenants and captains;
    • Operations funding for an 87-car stand-by ferry to improve system maintenance and reliability;
    • Key traffic relief initiatives including 10 new incident response trucks throughout Puget Sound to more quickly clear collisions and blockages, faster replacement of aging expansion joints along I-5, and authorization for the state Department of Transportation to lift Interstate-405 tolls on nights, weekends and holidays and additional capacity at certain chokepoints on I-405 to alleviate congestion.
  • Autonomous vehicles. In early 2016, Gov. Inslee met with key executives from Google to recruit their self-driving car project to Washington state. Google later announced it had selected Kirkland, as its location for a testing program with the first of its vehicles. In addition to improving road safety, autonomous vehicles could transform mobility for millions of people, reclaiming the billions of hours wasted in traffic, and bringing everyday destinations and new opportunities within reach of those who might otherwise be excluded by their inability to drive a car.
2015
  • Transportation investment package. Gov. Inslee brokered a 16-year, $16 billion “Connecting Washington” transportation investment package that will create ~200,000 jobs and includes:
    • Road and safety projects around the state including megaprojects like SR 520 bridge, the North Spokane Corridor, SR 167/SR 509 Gateway Project, and widening of I-5 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord
    • Highway maintenance and preservation
    • Non-highway projects like bike paths, rail and transit
    • Funding for ferries including a fourth Olympic Class Ferry Vessel
    • Authorization for Sound Transit to seek voter-approval for $15 billion to extend light rail to Everett, Tacoma and Redmond
    • Investments related to fish barrier removal, bridge preservation, freight rail improvements, electric vehicle and alternative fuel tax credits and commute trip reduction programs
  • Electric vehicle infrastructure. Making significant progress toward Gov. Inslee’s Results Washington goal of 50,000 EVs on the road by 2020, he signed legislation (HB 1853) that will allow utilities to more effectively play a role in building up Washington’s electric vehicle infrastructure. 
2014
  • SR 530 slide response. After the devastation of the SR 530 slide, Gov. Inslee directed WSDOT to work quickly and diligently to rebuild the road. Crews removed 90,000 cubic yards of debris in just twenty days and fully reconstructed the road in just 109 days.
  • Electric vehicle infrastructure. Gov. Inslee advanced statewide electric vehicle charging infrastructure through a $250,000 evaluation of expansion opportunities.
  • Transportation investment negotiations. Led by Gov. Inslee, negotiations continued on a transportation investment package.
2013
  • Skagit Bridge response. When the Skagit Bridge collapsed, Gov. Inslee and WSDOT began to rebuild almost immediately. The bridge was finished ahead of schedule with the temporary bridge in place in 27 days and the permanent bridge installed in 66 days.

Resources