“Cost to replace salmon-blocking culverts running into billions, WSDOT says”
“The taxpayers’ cost to comply with a federal court order to improve salmon habitat by repairing state culverts has ballooned from $1.9 billion to $3.8 billion over the past dozen years, officials told legislators Thursday [July 25].
“At a work session, members of the House-Senate Transportation Committee said they are committed to meeting the court’s mandate, which is considered a critical element to protect endangered orcas who feed on chinook salmon. But some lawmakers questioned whether the state can reduce the estimated $500 million cost of designing replacements or repairs to culverts over the next 10 years.
“Rep. Andrew Barkis, R-Olympia, said it appeared that many of the culvert projects would be similar, especially as the state completes more of them,” by James Drew, covering the state Legislature and state government for McClatchy’s Washington papers: The News Tribune, The Olympian, The Bellingham Herald and The Tri-City Herald.