Transportation budget expected to create 49,000 jobs - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Transportation budget expected to create 49,000 jobs

VIEW: State highway projects funded by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

SEATTLE, Wash. - Gov. Chris Gregoire has approved a $7.5 billion transportation budget that includes money for new ferries, statewide road paving, and some financing to replace the aging Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle.

Many of the road projects included in the budget signed Wednesday will begin this summer and are part of a plan to spend about $5 billion on construction that is expected to create 49,000 jobs.


Washington state is administering the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investments with an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability. Gregoire created a new Web site, www.recovery.wa.gov, so every Washingtonian can see where tax dollars are going and hold government accountable for the results. Visit the main American Recovery and Reinvestment Act here: http://www.recovery.gov/.

"This budget couldn't have come at a better time," Gregoire said. "Not only will it greatly improve our transportation system, the projects I'm signing off on will ensure regular employment for tens of thousands of Washingtonians. This is a huge win for the entire state of Washington. We're creating safer, more efficient ways of travel - while getting our economy back on track."

Using a combination of federal stimulus money and revenue from the state's gas tax, the budget provides money for more than 400 projects statewide.

Highlights of the transportation package include:

  • Funding for three 64-car ferries and a fourth, which will either be a 64-car or 144-car ferry;
  • Funding for critical safety, freight, and mobility projects - including I-90/Snoqualmie Pass, I-405 and the North Spokane corridor;
  • Consolidation of licensing services offices, creating cost savings and better customer service; and
  • Increased highway patrols for DUI enforcement

In addition to the transportation budget bill, the Legislature also approved legislation to fund the replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a deep bored tunnel. Lawmakers also appropriated funding to replace the state Route 520 bridge.

"Every one of these projects benefits the entire state," Gregoire said. "By making Washington a safe place to commute, and a more efficient place to do business, we are staying competitive in the changing economy."

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