Transportation bill passed by Senate without Confluence Parkway funding

Money for Wenatchee’s Confluence Parkway project was not included in a $16 billion transportation package passed by the state Senate Tuesday night.

The city was asking for $85 million to go with $49 million in federal funds to build a North Wenatchee Avenue Bypass that includes a second bridge over the Wenatchee River.

The 16-year transportation plan developed by Senate Democrats called Move Ahead Washington, focuses heavily on environmental spending and provides little funding for central Washington transportation projects.

Senator Brad Hawkins, who represents the 12and District, voted against the plan both earlier as a member of the Transportation Committee and again Tuesday in the Senate.

But he said he had not given up hope of finding money for Confluence Parkway during the current session as the bill headed for the House.

“I continue to be optimistic about Confluence Parkway’s $85 million funding opportunity for this session,” Hawkins said. “My discussions with Transport Committee Chairman Marko Liias over the past few days have been encouraging, which suggests to me that this project is something on his radar for the remaining days of the session.”

Hawkins attempted to add a pair of amendments to the bill on Tuesday, but both amendments were defeated by the Senate.

In addition to the $85 million for Confluence Parkway, Hawkins’ proposed First Amendment requested $30 million for North Wenatchee Avenue improvements, $36 million for the Wenatchi Landing interchange in Douglas County near the Odibashian Bridge, as well as $19 million for projects in the Leavenworth area. .

His second unsuccessful amendment sought to insert only funding for the Confluence Parkway project.

“I offered two amendments tonight because the ‘Move Ahead Washington’ transportation proposal being developed by House and Senate Democratic leaders is not yet a statewide investment package” “because it leaves a gigantic donut hole in the center of the state,” Hawkins said.

Local officials including Wenatchee Mayor Frank Kuntz, Link Transit General Manager Richard DeRock and Chelan-Douglas Transportation Board Executive Director Jeff Wilkens testified in support of funding Confluence Parkway at the committee hearings.

U.S. Representative for the Eighth District Kim Schrier, a Democrat who last summer helped secure a $92.4 million federal INFRA grant for area transportation projects that included Confluence Parkway, said he it was time for the state to intervene.

“The completion of the Confluence Parkway project is vital to the future of the Wenatchee Valley,” Schrier said. “These are improvements that will have real and positive impacts on people’s daily lives. I went to bat to help secure $49 million from the federal government for the project. Now is the time for the state to do its part. I will continue to work with Senator Hawkins to convey to his colleagues the critical importance of the Confluence Parkway project.