Lowry signs transportation budget, hails commitment to freight mobility

VANCOUVER, Wash. Gov. Mike Lowry today signed into law a supplemental transportation budget that provides $171.2 million for highway projects and other transportation improvements throughout the state, including construction of a new Mill Plain interchange that will expedite the movement of freight through the Port of Vancouver.

Lowry called the Mill Plain Extension and other freight-mobility initiatives he championed this year a small but important part of the revised two-year $3.3 billion transportation budget approved last month by the state Legislature.

Besides the freight mobility projects, the revised 1995-97 transportation budget includes additional funding to help repair roads and rail lines damaged by flooding, increase the number of State Troopers patroling the state's highways, begin work on three new High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane projects, and address other traffic congestion and safety problems across the state.

"Freight mobility is absolutely critical to preserving our state's geographical advantage in shipping trade with Pacific Rim countries," Lowry said. "Investing in the infrastructure that will help move freight to and from the port will benefit our entire state. I'm very pleased that the Legislature supported this investment in our future, while also funding important projects needed to improve safety and relieve traffic congestion throughout the state."

Along with $3.5 million to begin work on the Mill Plain project, the supplemental budget includes funding for several other freight-mobility initiatives including:

Port officials in Vancouver estimate that the Mill Plain project will allow for development of 800 additional acres of port and industrial property, eliminate nine rail crossings, and create between 2,000 and 4,000 new jobs over the next 10 to 20 years. Like the Overlake Business and Industrial Park project, it will be financed with a combination of public and private funds.

Although the governor supported most provisions of the supplemental transportation budget approved by the Legislature, he did veto one section of the bill that would have prevented the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) from qualifying for state grants and another section that would have barred the use of certain funds for planning activities by local transit agencies.

He also expressed strong objections to the diversion of $17.8 million in transit funding to help finance highway improvements.

"Short-changing transit funding is an extremely short-sighted approach to our state's transportation needs," Lowry said. "Our rapid population growth and impressive economic development make it absolutely imperative that we maintain our commitment to mass-transit solutions to the gridlock problem."

Below is a summary of other provisions in the supplemental transportation budget signed into law today by the governor.

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For more information, contact the Governor's Communications Office at 360-753-6790.

Highway Capital Improvement Projects

1996 Supplemental Funds - $13.4 million

State Route 3 - Belfair Bypass, Mason County - Environmental analysis and field survey of four possible alternative routes for a bypass of SR 3 past the city of Belfair.
1996 Supplemental Funds - $50,000

State Route 3/305 - Bond Road Connection - Provides preliminary engineering for expansion from two-lane to four-lane highway. This project ranks high in the statewide mobility program.
1996 Supplemental Funds - $475,000, Total Project - $5.5 mil.

State Route 14 and 192nd Ave. (Brady Road) Interchange - near Vancouver - Project would involve constructing a modified diamond interchange and reconstructing Brady Road to the north of SR 14.
1996 Supplemental Funds - $200,000 for Preliminary Engineering (PE), Total PE - $1.05 mil.

1-90 at Issaquah (Sunset Interchange) - Interchange to be modified to provide full directional movement with 1-90 and integrated with the Issaquah city bypass route project.
1996 Supplemental Funds - $500,000 for PE, Total - 12.9 mil.

1-90 - Sprague Avenue to Argonne Road - Spokane - Reconstruct, realign and widen additional lanes and a reconstructed interchange.
1996 Supplemental Funds - $1 mil., Total - $13 mil.

State Route 112 - Susie Creek Bridge, west of Joyce, Clallam County - Replace existing structurally-deficient bridge with new bridge.
1996 Supplemental Funds - $3.7 mil., Total - 3.7 mil.

State Route 501 - Mill Plain Extension - Columbia to Fruit Valley Road, Vancouver - A reconstruction of the intersection.
1996 Supplemental Funds - $3.5 mil. for construction, Total - $7.4 mil.

State Route 520 and N.E. 40th St. - Bellevue/Redmond - Partial interchange revisions, including undercrossings and ramps.
1996 Supplemental Funds - $1.9 mil. for construction, Total -$2.2 mil.

State route 522/527 - Main Street Project - Improves the existing intersection to relieve congestion that impacts the adjacent Bothell central business district. This will fulfill a commitment the Department of Transportation has with the city of Bothell.
1996 Supplemental Funds - $924,000

Port of Tacoma Road - Tacoma - Provides for preliminary engineering for a grade separation project.
1996 Supplemental Funds - $1.1 mil.

High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lanes

1996 Supplemental Funds - $14 million

Interstate 5: 164th to State Route 526 - Located on a stretch of 1-5 west of Mill Creek, this project would provide HOV lanes on both the north- and southbound sections of the freeway.
1996 Supplemental Funds - $6.5 mil., Total - $17 mil.

State Route 405: 160th to State Route 522 (Woodinville Interchange) Located near Woodinville, this project would also provide north- and southbound HOV lanes on SR 405.
1996 Supplemental Funds - $5.5 mil., Total - $15.2 mil.

State Route 405: State Route 522 to State Route 527 - North- and southbound HOV lanes would be provided on this section of SR 405 between the Bothell and Swamp Creek Interchanges. This project represents Stage 1 of two stages.
1996 Supplemental Funds - $2 mil., Total - $24.1 mil.

Highway Safety Projects

1996 Supplemental Funds - $3 million

Yakima County: State Route 12, Old Naches Highway Intersection near Yakima - Install traffic signal, construct left turn lanes, and construct acceleration and deceleration lanes.
1996 Supplemental Funds - $1.2 million, Total - $1.5 million

Lewis County: State Route 507, Centralia - Upgrade and interconnect two traffic signals.
1996 Supplemental Funds - $584,000, Total - $634,000

Spokane County: State Route 395, milepost 188.3 to Granite Point Road north of Spokane - Extend uphill northbound passing lane and construct left turn channelization.
1996 Supplemental Funds - $905,000, Total - $910,000

Spokane County: State Route 395, Roitz Road to milepost 197.4 north of Spokane - Extend southbound passing lane.
1996 Supplemental Funds - $295,000, Total - $300,000