Jan. 23, 2003
A special publication of
Where have all the highway jobs gone?
By BENJAMIN MINNICK
Journal Construction Editor
Out of nearly three dozen projects profiled in this year’s Washington State Top Public Projects special, only one — the second Tacoma Narrows Bridge — is a road project. That compares to seven last year.
“We've been frustrated in our attempts to raise funds for road projects,” said Bob Adams, vice president at Guy F. Atkinson Construction and last year’s Associated General Contractors of Washington president.
Adams said business has been slow for his company, which derives about 90 percent of its revenues from transportation projects. The low volume of work has forced his company to transfer and layoff workers here.
Adams said there is little money available from existing sources to fund new transportation projects in the state’s current biennium.
But, there may be some good news down the road. Adams said legislative leaders told him they might be able to get some sort of transportation funding package put together in the current legislative session, which is scheduled to end in late April.
That could include a gas tax. Adams said the tax would likely be half the 9 cent increase that failed on last November’s ballot. He also said there has been some talk about alternative funding sources, such as charging single drivers a fee to use the HOV lanes.
This summer Sound Transit is expected to kick off its $2.5 billion Central Link light rail project. It involves building a 15-mile rail line from Seattle to Sea-Tac Airport. Most of the track will be in operation by 2009.
A Sound Transit spokesman said he anticipates a number of contracts will be let this year, depending on federal funding.
-- Benjamin Minnick, Lina Korsmo, David Wise and Trista Allen edited this special section.