News Releases
Office of Governor Gary Locke
Contact:  Governor's Communications Office, 360-902-4136

Transportation fix cannot wait any longer, Locke states at Lynnwood Rotary

LYNNWOOD - Noting that Washington state has an ailing transportation system
that is hampering businesses, Gov. Gary Locke urged the Legislature to pass
sensible legislation to fix the state's traffic mess.

Locke addressed the state's transportation crisis and outlined his 10-year,
$17.2 billion transportation proposal to relieve traffic congestion in an
afternoon address to the Lynnwood Rotary.

"Boeing has said a broken transportation system is bad for business," Locke
said. "Not just Boeing's business, but everybody's."

"We're simply out of time - and we can't sit on this any longer," the
governor stated. "Every community reaches a 'tipping point' - a threshold
that signals a change in the conventional wisdom. The Central Puget Sound's
broken-down transportation system has hit the 'tipping point.'"

"Our state transportation is in peril," Locke continued. "Congestion is an
all-day epidemic in the Central Puget Sound area. We just can't wait any
longer to address these problems."

Addressing his transportation priorities for the Central Puget Sound area,
Locke said his proposal would:

  • Complete the link between state Route 509 and Interstate Highway 5
  • Complete the HOV system on I-5 from state Route 526 to Everett
  • Build the Monroe bypass on U.S. Route 2
  • Add new lanes to state Route 527 near Silver Lake
  • Replace the four ferries that were built in 1927.

To pay for the package, the governor proposed a 50 percent gross weight
surcharge for trucks and a two percent sales and use tax increase for new
and used vehicles. The package, which is contingent upon voter approval,
also calls for a 4-cent increase in gas taxes in January 2002 and a 3-cent
tax increase in 2004.

The governor's transportation plan would give metropolitan-area counties the
ability to form transportation regions, with in which local option revenue
sources - subject to approval by voters in the regions - would pay for
highway improvements critical to those areas.

Noting that the House and he agreed that efficiencies must be enacted prior
to a vote on a transportation package, Locke noted that while he had signed
some reforms into law, many were left unresolved.

"All of the Blue Ribbon Commission's recommendations have since January been
introduced as legislation awaiting action," the governor said. "I support
all of the Commission's reforms and efficiencies."

In an effort to jump start debate on remaining reforms, Locke said he had
offered compromises on every unresolved issue on the table, from regional
governance to prevailing wage and signaled that he was willing to go beyond
the Blue Ribbon Commission's recommendations on reforms and efficiencies.

"If the Democrats and I are willing to go farther than what the Blue Ribbon
Commission recommends, then Republicans can't turn around and say they are
opposed to some of the basic reforms proposed by the Commission," Locke

Referring to the upcoming special legislative session, Locke emphasized that
"the decisions we make on transportation during our third special session
beginning July 16th will determine the future of our state and the legacy we
leave to our children. Period."

Related Links:
- Washington State House of Representatives
- Washington State Legislature
- Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation
- The Boeing Company

» Return to this month's News Releases
» View News Release Archive

Access Washington