Update: Let’s Protect the Planning Funds for Interstate 5

We’re sharing a big THANK YOU to the 60+ people who met the April 2 call to action. Sending an email is a modest but crucial way for our elected leaders to hear that lidding I-5 is important to the community. We have another opportunity for you to act today.

First, we have great news to share: Your efforts have made a difference! Senator Rebecca Saldaña, vice chair of the Transportation Committee and representing South Seattle’s 37th District, was a lead advocate in securing I-5 planning funds in the latest Senate project list, under SB 5482. That bill provides $6 million for a statewide I-5 planning and an environmental linkage study, and declares the intent to invest at least $40 million dollars in master planning over the 16-year life of this transportation package. This funding will provide the resources WSDOT needs to analyze multi-modal transportation and conduct public outreach for the future of the corridor.

We’re not out of the woods yet, however. The Senate still needs to negotiate with the House on the final transportation package before the end of this month, and it is critical that the planning funding is protected.

Please send a thank you note to our Senate leaders and urge their House counterparts to agree to the funding. We have a pre-filled email (click here), or copy-paste from our Google Doc template. Your message goes to senior members of the two transportation committees, most of the Seattle delegation, and key legislative aides. Consider adding a personal note, and make sure to sign with your name. Thank you!

This news comes just as The Seattle Times published a report on delayed repairs threatening the safety of our bridges and urban freeways. The article specifically highlights the I-5 Ship Canal Bridge, and reaffirms that we have long known I-5 in Seattle needs major work. According to the article, “In 2008, then-WSDOT Secretary Paula Hammond said I-5 in Seattle needed a $2 billion overhaul, but the political climate made funding impossible that year.”

Also, thank you to The Stranger for covering the recent bill, saying “… it’s nice that the Senate has removed one obstacle to lidding I-5 in Seattle. We’ve got a little over two weeks for the House and Senate to agree on exactly what the final version of the transportation bill will contain.”

The Lid I-5 Steering Committee