Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Transportation Package News Conference
April 27, 2003

Good afternoon, and thank you for coming.

This is a great day for the people of Washington. Shortly before midnight last night, the Washington State Legislature passed a transportation improvement package. This plan will create thousands of jobs and get our state moving. These improvements will propel our state into a brighter economic future.

With me today are:

· House Speaker Frank Chopp
· Senate Majority Leader Jim West (possibly)
· Rep. Ed Murray, Chair of House Transportation Committee
· Sen. Jim Horn, Chair of Senate Highway & Transportation Committee
· Rep. Doug Erickson, ranking Republican, House Transportation Committee
· Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, ranking Democrat, Senate Highway & Transportation Committee
· Rep. Lynn Kessler, House Majority Leader
· Sen. Bill Finkbeiner, Senate Majority Deputy Leader, and
· Our Secretary of Transportation, Doug MacDonald.

Together, we have done what many thought to be impossible. I vowed at the start of this session that we would complete a transportation package this session. And we did.

The legislative leaders here today and I have been meeting constantly since January, sometimes all night. I proposed a compromise transportation package several weeks ago. We have been working steadily, often behind the scenes, to get this done. It’s been grindstone, not grandstand. And today we have a package we can all take pride in.

With bipartisan commitment and cooperation, we’ve crafted a roadmap to better transportation and speedier economic recovery.

The improvements in this transportation plan will make our roads safer, speed up commutes, improve freight mobility across the state, replace four auto ferries built in 1927, and improve public transportation and passenger rail.

This plan will also accelerate economic recovery. The improvements will create thousands of family-wage jobs. Thousands of Washington families will benefit from those jobs, benefits that will be passed on to our state’s economy.

This plan will give Washington citizens the accountability they need and deserve. We will all know where the dollars go and how the plan progresses. And we will see the benefits of this package across our state.

I’d like to introduce House Speaker Frank Chopp . . .

Thank you, Speaker Chopp. Now let’s hear from Senate Majority Leader Jim West . . . .

Thank you, Senator West. Next, here’s Representative Ed Murray . . . .

Thank you, Representative Murray. Next up is Senator Jim Horn . . . .

Thank you Senator Horn. I’d also like to ask our Secretary of Transportation, Doug MacDonald, to say a few words…

Again, I want to thank the leaders here today and the other legislators who worked with me to hammer out this transportation improvement package. This has been a model of bipartisan effort. It has been a long time coming. Our state has struggled with this issue for years.

I vowed after the November election that we would never quit, and we did not. I vowed that we would solve this problem here in Olympia this session, and we have.

All the Blue Ribbon Commission reforms, efficiencies, and accountability measures we all worked hard to get enacted over the past two years will strengthen our state Department of Transportation. These essential new tools will help deliver the newly-funded projects on-time and on-budget.

This is a great day for our state, the traveling public, our employers, and our economy. After many detours, dead-ends and roadblocks, we are now in the express lanes to a brighter future for our state.

Thank you.

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