Gov. Inslee calls on Legislature to fund completion of SR 509, 167

by: Graham Johnson Updated:

TACOMA, Wash. —

An old idea for completing two unfinished Puget Sound-area freeways is gaining new momentum.

On Friday at the Port of Tacoma, Gov. Jay Inslee called on state legislators to approve extensions of State Route 509 in South King County and State Route 167 in Pierce County.

Both freeways now fade into smaller roadways before reaching Interstate 5.

Port officials and longshoremen said expanding the highways would help trucks carrying cargo reach the ports of Tacoma and Seattle.

The Washington State Department of Transportation is now rolling the expansion of both highways into The Puget Sound Gateway Project.

The project includes transforming HOV lanes on I-5 between Seattle and Tacoma to express toll lanes.

The state estimates the entire Gateway project would cost up to $3 billion.

WSDOT has suggested implementing it in two phases, with lanes later added to both routes.

Inslee's call for expanding the highways did not include ideas of how to pay for it.

WSDOT has said tolling on SR 509 and SR 167 would likely be necessary. It is not known which sections would be tolled or how much drivers would pay.

 The Legislature is considering transportation packages as lawmakers debate the state budget.