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May 14, 2004

Message from the Governor

Summer road construction season is starting in Washington, and we're seeing great progress in transportation improvements.

Gov. Locke at transportation news conference

Securing a new transportation funding source was one of my top priorities these last few years. I vowed that we would not end the 2003 Legislative session without it. And we did not. I was very pleased to work with the Legislature to pass a $4.2 billion, ten-year transportation financing package.

We’re using this money to deliver 103 critical transportation projects throughout our state. The “nickel funding package” will help break through traffic chokepoints and make travel on our roads safer. These projects will speed up commutes, improve freight mobility across the state, replace up to four auto ferries built back in 1927, and improve public transportation and passenger rail.

This week I visited Snohomish County, where the Department of Transportation is working to double the capacity of a major segment of the Bothell-Everett Highway. Improving this crucial north-south corridor will ease the morning and evening commutes and improve traffic safety.

Quote of the Week
“I urge all Washington motorists to be especially careful in driving through work zones. A work zone shouldn’t be a war zone.”
—Governor Locke, May 12, 2004

I am proud that the project will finish this summer, ahead of schedule. This summer, a “nickel project” will extend these Bothell-Everett Highway improvements all the way from I-5 to I-405. This will further increase capacity and safety. This is just one example of how important—and badly needed—transportation improvements are to our state.

The Everett I-5 HOV lane expansion, also in Snohomish County, is another example. This project will help fix one of Western Washington’s worst chokepoints, Seattle to Everett. It will improve mobility, increase traffic flow and enhance safety. I am pleased that the project was fast-tracked by the state Legislature earlier this year. Now construction will begin in fall 2005.

Commuters will benefit. Carpoolers and transit riders get a dedicated lane with exclusive entrance and exit ramps. The HOV lanes will reduce traffic flow in the general purpose lanes. The project will also widen the general purpose lanes and widen or replace 19 bridges. This expansion is key to moving products and people in the economically important Everett area. The expansion of I-5 was a key component to the success of Boeing's 7E7 plan.

Additionally, the lane expansion will be complete before the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, BC. This is important since many tourists will make the trip from Vancouver to Washington state for shopping, lodging, and tourism.

As the busy season begins for road construction, we must all take special care to drive safely through work zones.

Orange signs, orange cones, or orange barriers mean workers in orange vests are ahead. Let’s make sure we follow the directions of the message boards and flaggers—and let’s slow down, and “give 'em a brake.”

These workers are doing their best to improve our state's roads. We all benefit through better traffic flow and greater safety. Let’s all work together to prevent any accidents in work zones this year.

We have a great season of road construction work planned. This will be a great summer to watch our nickel work!

Gary Locke
Gary Locke

Governor's Priorities
News Highlights

Honoring Heroic Police Officers
Governor Locke awarded 10 law enforcement officers with the state's highest law enforcement distinction, the Law Enforcement Medal of Honor, at a ceremony May 7. The annual honor recognizes exceptionally meritorious conduct, serious injury or death in the line of duty. “Numerous law enforcement officers have distinguished themselves by gallantry at the risk of their own lives, to save the lives of others,” the Governor said. “It is an honor to award the Washington State Law Enforcement Medal of Honor, on behalf of a grateful state, to these ten individuals for their exceptional service and recognition of the ultimate sacrifice.” The Law Enforcement Medal of Honor was established by the state Legislature in 1994. There have been 224 recipients, including this year's honorees, since its inception. Please visit the Governor's Web site for a complete list of this year's recipients.

Teaching Through Technology
Governor Locke signed an agreement with Microsoft on May 10 to work together to improve student achievement in the state, particularly among at-risk students, through the strategic use of technology. Microsoft selected Washington as the first state in the nation to participate in the company's new U.S. Partners in Learning program. The five-year agreement includes a $3 million funding commitment from Microsoft to the state. “Technology has opened new doors of opportunity for our students, and has also placed a new responsibility on our educators,” the Governor said. “By working with an innovator such as Microsoft we will be able to better use technology in our classrooms and develop teaching models that can be used in our state and across the nation.”

Special Children Serving as Chief for a Day
Gov. Locke at Chief for a Day CeremonyGovernor Locke honored 15 children as “Chief for a Day” at a special event on May 11. The Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission partners with local area hospitals to give children diagnosed with a chronic illness a day that focuses on their dreams, not their illnesses. Then children each wore a hand-tailored uniform from their sponsoring law enforcement agency. They were transported to the event in limousines by police motorcade to their swearing-in ceremony. The children also participated in outside presentations by law enforcement agencies that included K-9 units, mounted patrol, SWAT teams and a police helicopter.

Protecting the Ocean
Governor Locke hosted a forum to discuss the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy’s (USCOP) preliminary report at the Seattle Aquarium on May 13. “The preliminary report of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy is an important document for our state,” Locke said. “This wide-ranging report covers many issues critical to the biologic and economic health of our region.” The report was issued by USCOP on April 20. Only comments from governors are included in the final report, so the Governor used the meeting as an opportunity to gather input from concerned citizens and environmental organizations. “The ocean is critically important to our state-economically and ecologically,” the Governor said. “The recommendations in the report could have a significant impact on us. It’s extremely important that we actively engage with the commission. It’s essential that we provide input that will benefit our state and our relationship with the sea.” The deadline for comments to the Governor expired May 28.

Building the Liberal Arts at Evergreen
Gov. Locke at Evergreen State CollegeGovernor Locke dedicated the newest building at The Evergreen State College in a ceremony May 12. The new facility, Seminar II, completes Evergreen’s central campus core and includes five lecture halls, five large class workshops, 20 seminar rooms and 90 faculty offices. “This facility embodies a commitment to the learning philosophy here at Evergreen, and to the great tradition of a liberal arts education,” the Governor said. “The design reflects Evergreen’s focus on active, interdisciplinary learning that integrates theory and practice. Seminar II captures Evergreen’s unique teaching and learning style.” Classes are scheduled to start in the building in Spring 2004.

Upcoming Events
5/14: Governor's Scholarship Reception, Olympia
5/17: Microsoft Government Leaders Forum, Redmond
5/18: WorkFirst Business Appreciation and Recognition Event, Seattle
5/20: Leadership Development Program Graduation Celebration, Spokane
5/20: Annual Hispanic Graduation Ceremony and Celebration, Spokane
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