A report issued yesterday by Washington State Auditor Brian Sonntag's office urges the state to more aggressively attack highway congestion, beginning with a formal declaration that congestion is a top transportation policy priority. The Seattle Times reported on the findings today. The transportation performance audit, prepared for Sonntag's office by Talbot, Korvola & Warwick of Portland, goes on to make more than 20 specific policy recommendations. These include urging that the state legislature should:
The transportation performance audit, authorized under Initiative 900, also recommends the department add new highway lanes.
WSDOT observes in the audit report, correctly, with respect to new highway lanes and other capital-intensive proposals, that new state funding has been hard to secure over the years and much responsibility lies with the legislature.
But as state legislators were recently reminded, state and federal gas tax revenues - a key funding source - aren't a good bet going forward. All the more reason for state lawmakers to explore and ultimately implement the report's recommendations, especially expanding opportunities for public private partnerships, building more HOT lanes, and implementing transportation governance reform to boost investment and accountability.