Securing Highway Funding


The 42 miles of US Highway 12 between Pasco and Walla Walla, Washington was previously considered one of the most dangerous stretches of roadway in the state. The US 12 Highway Coalition enlisted the Partners at Summit Strategies to help them advocate and secure funding for safety improvements along the roadway including four-laning the highway, flattening slopes, realigning the roadway to current design standards, providing new and updated barriers where needed, limiting access, and greatly reducing more than 100 access points.

Summit Solution

Summit Strategies created a legislative strategy for moving forward on the nearly $500 million project. Working alongside the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the Port of Walla Walla, we advised the Coalition to break the project into more manageable sizes for the purposes of funding and sustaining political momentum. We recommended the Coalition seek federal funding for environmental, engineering, planning and some right-of-way acquisition, and seek State funding for construction of the first five project phases.

Summit additionally worked to build Congressional support for this project, by securing support from members of the Washington delegation and by coordinating an annual US Highway 12 Coalition fly-in to Washington, DC.

Summit’s coordinated lobbying effort involved:

  • Federal lobbying

  • Coalition building

  • Congressional Fly-ins

  • Grant support


Summit’s efforts have resulted in more than $20 million in federal funding (both in appropriations and authorizations) primarily directed at project preliminary engineering and right-of-way acquisition. With phases of the project shovel ready, the State legislature has now contributed more than $250 million for construction of 7 of 8 project phases. Thirty-four million dollars for design and right of way acquisition for the final phase has been secured and thanks for the application of practical design considerations to Phase 8, anticipated construction costs for this final project phase have been reduced from $216M to $146M.

Summit is now working to help the coalition secure construction funding for final phase of this critical project.