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Gov. Gregoire signs transportation budget and measures to move forward on 520

For Immediate Release: March 30, 2010

BELLEVUE – At a bill signing ceremony today Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law the 2010 supplemental transportation budget and a number of bills to move forward on the 520 bridge replacement project.

“We are making investments in our transportation system across the state and leveraging federal recovery dollars to get more done, to put more people to work and to get our economy on a path to recovery,” Gregoire said. “Replacing the 520 bridge is about protecting public safety and maintaining a vibrant economy. The laws signed today will get us going to make sure we open the new bridge on time in 2014.”

Joined by elected, civic, business and labor leaders from both sides of Lake Washington, Gregoire signed a bill that would allow the state to proceed with additional work on the 520 bridge replacement project. Bonds backed by 520 toll revenue can now be used for any portion of the project, not just the floating bridge portion under the new law.

“We appreciate the support of the Legislature and Governor Gregoire in enacting legislation that allows us to begin building the SR 520 eastside corridor,” said Paula Hammond, Washington Transportation Secretary. “We will not only take advantage of a great bidding climate by starting the project now, we will also provide real travel time and safety benefits for transit riders, carpoolers and commuters that rely on this corridor every day.”

The new law also directs that $200 million is set aside to help fund improvements on the west side of the project and creates workgroups to improve transit connections and to make recommendations and refinements to the final design of the west side.

“In addition to the enormous safety and economic benefits of starting the SR-520 project now, today’s legislation will serve as a concrete example that political, civic, labor, business and community interests can come together to find real solutions for the challenges facing our state,” said Brad Smith, senior vice president of Microsoft Corporation and president of the Washington Roundtable. “The compromise reached this year will allow Seattle more time to deal with Westside design issues, while allowing important construction progress to be made on the east side of the lake.”

“The City of Bellevue and our neighboring cities have been working with the State for over a decade to plan and design the replacement of the 520 bridge,” said Mayor Don Davidson Bellevue. “It has been a long process and we are pleased that with this bill, the State will be able to begin work immediately to provide a safer bridge, transit improvements and congestion relief for this vital corridor.”

The 2010 transportation budget signed today funds the capital construction for highways, ferries and rail. It incorporates recent federal recovery dollars Washington has been awarded such as $590 million for high speed rail from Seattle to Portland and $35 million for the North Spokane freeway. To date, all federal funds for transportation have been obligated by Washington state and will sustain or add 3,378 jobs.

“With this $8.5 billion plan, we’re building on the momentum of last year’s budget, which was already a record level of investment,” said Rep. Judy Clibborn (D-Mercer Island), chair of the House Transportation Committee. “Today’s package of bills prepares us for the future. We’re moving forward on the 520 bridge, especially the ready-to-go Eastside projects, so this economic lifeline can continue serving the needs of our region.”

“The jobs created by the state’s investment in our transportation system are good, family-wage jobs that benefit people here in our local communities and those benefits can be felt immediately,” said David Johnson, Executive Secretary of the Washington State Building & Construction Trades Council AFL-CIO. “The projects we are working on will have a lasting positive effect as well, making our roads safer, easing congestion and making sure freight and goods can move throughout the region quickly and efficiently.”

Gregoire signed the following bills into law:

• Substitute House Bill No. 2179, relating to authorizing cities to provide and contract for supplemental transportation improvements.

• Engrossed Substitute House Bill No. 2464, relating to approaching certain emergency, roadside assistance, or police vehicles in emergency zones.

• Substitute House Bill No. 2939, relating to notations on driver abstracts that a person was not at fault in a motor vehicle accident.

• Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill No. 6381, relating to transportation funding and appropriations.

• Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill No. 6392, relating to the use of revenue generated from tolling the state route number 520 corridor.

• Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill No. 6499, relating to the administration, collection, use, and enforcement of tolls.

• Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill No. 6774, relating to transportation benefit districts.