Transportation budget keeps North-South Freeway on schedule - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Transportation budget keeps North-South Freeway on schedule

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OLYMPIA, Wash. - The uninterrupted construction of the North/South Freeway is ensured in the 2007-09 transportation budget passed late Friday by the state Senate and early Saturday by the House of Representatives.

"I came to Olympia to make sure nothing interfered with the progress of the North-South Freeway, so today was a very satisfying day," said Sen. Chris Marr, D-Spokane, vice chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. "This road is central to the growth and prosperity of our region. "I'll be tracking every aspect of it, in this and future budgets, to make sure it receives full funding and is completed as swiftly as possible."

To keep the freeway on schedule, Marr and his Senate colleagues had to compensate this year for unexpected inflation that has escalated freeway costs. Lawmakers added $99 million for North-South Freeway construction for the 2007-09 biennium.

Overall, the $7.5 billion transportation budget maintains all funding commitments for the 432 projects funded in the 2003 and 2005 transportation packages.

Marr's other priorities in the session were to secure funds to provide health care to 38,000 uninsured children and create a state veterans cemetery in eastern Washington comparable to the Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent. Both measures passed handily and have been signed into law by Gov. Chris Gregoire.
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