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2003 "Nickel" Funding Package

The 2003 Washington State Legislature enacted the Nickel funding package: It’s your Nickel, Watch it Work. 

The revenue package funds 158 projects over a 10-year period. The Nickel Package includes:

  • 5 cents per gallon gas tax increase
  • 15 percent increase in gross weight fees on heavy trucks
  • 0.3 percent increase in the sales tax on motor vehicles

When the projects are built, and the accompanying bonds are paid off, the five-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase will expire.

What types of projects are funded from the 2003 Nickel Funding Package?

Total investment: $3.9 billion, 158 projects

Highway Improvements: $3.2 billion, 125 projects 

  • Alaskan Way Viaduct - $177 million
    Begin design, complete the environmental impact statement (EIS), and start to purchase critical right of way needs

  • SR 520 Bridge - $52 million
    Complete the EIS and begin design of the project

  • Congestion Relief - $2.6 billion
    Improve the movement of traffic in some of the most congested areas of the state, including $2.2 billion for projects in the Central Puget Sound area and $190 million in Spokane.

    Strategies include:
    • Constructing HOV or general purpose lanes
    • Improving interchanges
    • Building truck climbing or passing lanes

  • Safety - $211 million
    Statewide projects to fix some of the worst locations for frequent accidents including run-off-the-road danger.

    Strategies include:
    • Improving dangerous intersections by adding signals, turn lanes, or lighting
    • Widening shoulders on narrow two-lane roads
    • Straightening curves
    • Installing new or upgrade obsolete guardrail

  • Freight Mobility and Economic, $121 million
    Improves freight transportation on our state highways.

  • Environmental, $35 million
    Addresses specific noise and flood issues.

Highway Preservation: $145 million, 2 projects

  • Begin to address the future concrete pavement needs in heavy traveled corridors

Washington State Ferries: $298 million, 5 projects

  • Provide for one new auto/passenger ferry boat
  • Improve ferry terminals in Mukilteo, Anacortes, and Edmonds

Freight Mobility and Economic: $12 million, 2 projects

  • Make improvements to assist freight transportation on local roadways and rail systems.

Multimodal Improvements: $210 million, 24 projects

  • Improve Amtrak Cascades passenger rail service with projects that support better on-time performance and that will reduce travel times between cities
  • Preserve freight rail infrastructure within the state