Skip Top Navigation

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

What’s happened with the Nickel Fund so far?
Twenty “Nickel” fund projects were completed as of December 2005, with another 26 projects in construction.

Between 2000 and 2005, the completed Nickel projects, combined with other preexisting funds, have contributed to major safety and traffic-flow improvements along some of the state’s most important corridors.