Transportation

Gov. Jay Inslee says that passing a transportation funding package this year must be a priority for the Legislature.

In an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday, Inslee said he is concerned that momentum for passing such a plan has been dissipating.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Local leaders from across King County want to tax themselves to pay for bus service, ferries, roads and bridges, but even local measures would need approval from the state.

The coalition, which includes the mayor of Seattle and more than 40 other cities, want to be able to tack on fees to car tab renewals and vehicle transfers, among others. That requires approval from state legislators.

King County Executive Dow Constantine said local governments should be free to invest in their own infrastructure.

Bellamy Pailthorp photo / KPLU News

Big mistakes were made by the State Department of Transportation in its construction of the pontoons that will hold up the new 520 bridge across Lake Washington.

The agency says it is making repairs and design modifications to ensure the bridge will last the full 75 year lifespan promised.

Oran Viriyincy / Flickr

Washington state transportation officials are exploring whether to charge drivers by the mile to use state highway and roads.

A steering committee of transportation experts recently concluded it's feasible to move the state away from gasoline taxes to a "pay as you go" road fee system.

Zargoman photo / Flickr

Mudslides continue to shut down train tracks, and halt passenger rail traffic north of Seattle.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe spokesman Gus Melonas says tracks between Seattle and Everett have been shut down for passenger trains 95 percent of the time since Thanksgiving. 

sivinjski danijel / flickr

Did you get stuck in traffic during the Thanksgiving weekend? Or: worry about your kids getting dicey rides home from holiday parties?

Those are two reasons you might be interested in a relatively new,
alternative form of transportation: ridesharing.

It's really just a new spin on hitchhiking. Only, when you add in cell phones with an app to download, it’s quicker and more convenient to find the right ride.

Jake Ellison / KPLU

A cultural shift is taking place in Seattle. It’s the elimination of a free-ride zone downtown, for bus riders.

It’s been in place for four decades. And on Friday (Sept. 28) it will go away. 

Many travelers using United Airlines faced delays Tuesday, but they weren't connected to Hurricane Isaac. Instead, the airline's computer network crashed, leaving large parts of its system paralyzed Tuesday afternoon.

First noted around 2:15 p.m. EDT, the problems persisted until about 6:30 p.m. EDT, when the airline tweeted that it is "in the process of resuming operations and rebooking customers."

A major Seattle traffic choke point is poised to make a dramatic change this weekend. But officials don't expect the soon-to-be two-way Mercer Street will improve the afternoon commute out of downtown.

As of Monday, Mercer Street will carry two-way traffic for the first time since 1968. But The Seattle Times (http://is.gd/hfCJgX ) reports much more work remains to be done in the neighborhood.

LAKE FOREST PARK, Wash. — The state Transportation Department says crews hope to reopen Highway 522 at Lake Forest Park late Thursday morning.

Workers are removing a large tree that fell across the highway about 3 a.m. and also brought down power lines.

Seattle City Light said more than 4,500 customers in Lake Forest Park and Shoreline lost power.

Highway 522 is a major Seattle commuter route around the north end of Lake Washington. Traffic was detoured to Ballinger Way and NE 145th Street.

When a chunk of I-5 flew up and smashed through the windshield of a car carrying a family of four, the dangers of Washington's crumbling roadways became all too real.

"The rock hit me so hard in the chest, it literally took my breath away," Henry Jessop, who was in the passenger seat, told KOMO. His son Ian and his daughter were in the back seat, and his wife was behind the wheel.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The long goodbye to Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct has begun.

With some ceremonial scoops of dirt, officials today began digging a pit for the giant machine that will chew up the earth under Seattle like a massive termite creating the deep-bore tunnel.

If a preliminary report holds true, the number of road deaths fell again in 2011. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that 32,310 people died on highways last year, down almost 2 percent from the 32,885 people who died in 2010.

The Detroit News reports:

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Fresh snow in the mountains has slightly delayed the reopening of one high mountain pass in the Washington Cascades. Highway crews are on track to reopen two other scenic cross state routes before Memorial Day.

What's slowing them down? The snowpack is deeper than average for this time of year in Washington, north Idaho and the northern Oregon Cascades.

The Transportation Security Administration says it will be using Seattle-Tacoma International Airport's north security checkpoint for its new expedited screening program.

TSA is testing its new PreCheck system at 28 airports this year.

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