From the Seattle Times:
Washington state is under a federal court order to fix hundreds of barriers built under state roads and highways that block access for migrating salmon and thus interfere with Washington tribes’ treaty-backed right to catch fish.
But it’s not clear how the state is going to come up with the estimated $2.4 billion it will take to correct more than 825 culverts — concrete pipes or steel structures that allow streams to flow under state roads and highways.
The state says it would need to fix an average 30 to 40 culverts a year by 2030, spending $310 million every biennium, to comply with the 2013 court injunction.
The state has appealed the judge’s decision. But in the meantime, the Legislature last week approved millions to correct fish barriers statewide.
The 16-year transportation revenue bill includes $300 million for fish passage, dramatically more than in the past but far short of what the state estimates it needs. The House still needs to pass two Senate-approved bills to complete the transportation package.
“I would like to have seen us put more money toward that,” said Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, ranking member of the House Transportation Committee. “We do need to be working on this. I think it’s a good start and I’m glad we’re doing it.”