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Gov. Gregoire Annouces Nickel Package Projects Completed on Time

For Immediate Release: December 6, 2005

Governor chooses Doug MacDonald to lead WSDOT

OLYMPIA -- Gov. Chris Gregoire today announced recent project delivery results by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

“The citizens of Washington State have put transportation investment high on the priority list for state government,” Gov. Gregoire said. “The results of the recent election show that people support projects that will make our transportation system safer and more efficient. Our job is to get the projects done on time and within budget.”

Earlier this year WSDOT announced completion of 13 projects approved by the Legislature in the 2003 Nickel Package. Today’s announcement added seven more projects completed in July, August and September. All of the newly completed projects were finished on time and the total cost of the construction work - almost $100 million - was within one-half of one percent of the planned construction cost.

Gov. Gregoire also announced completion of the first of the high priority safety projects funded by 2005 Transportation Partnership funds. While the majority of this project package was put on hold pending the vote on initiative 912, Gregoire directed that a limited set of critical safety projects be started. These are the projects that have now been completed.

The governor further announced today that she will require WSDOT to produce regular, ongoing progress reports on Nickel package and 2005 Transportation Partnership projects. This report now lists 28 projects in every corner of the state with a total construction cost of more than $670 million. WSDOT reports that construction started on time or ahead of schedule in 20 of the projects. The start of construction was delayed three to 22 months in the case of eight projects for reasons ranging from right of way obstacles to awaiting the coordination of a locally funded project.

“We are pleased to achieve this level of progress for taxpayers,” Gov. Gregoire said. “This is also the fitting moment for me to announce that, following the Legislature’s decision last spring to make WSDOT a regular cabinet agency with the Secretary of Transportation reporting directly to the Governor, I will be submitting Doug MacDonald’s name for confirmation by the Senate as my own permanent appointment as Secretary. Doug and his staff at the department have been doing a good job and our entire team is looking forward to addressing the transportation challenges ahead. Most important is to deliver high-quality, cost-effective projects that meet our citizens’ expectations while ensuring that every dollar of taxpayer money is well spent.”

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