A transportation budget sent to Gov. Chris Gregoire for signing last week has some good elements for Thurston County.
Democratic Rep. Chris Reykdal of Tumwater pushed for and won a provision that lets the Washington State Patrol continue serving as primary responder to traffic accidents on Thurston County roads through June 2013. Sheriff John Snaza, an independent, and his Democratic predecessor have said it could require addition of staff, which could have added $1 million in costs per year for the county.
"The sheriff called and thanked me. He was the only one," Reykdal said today. Reykdal said it is the last time he will push for it. He added that it was his own predecessor, former Rep. Brendan Williams, who alerted him that the original budget omitted this proviso.
Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, said House Bill 1175, the transportation budget, also has money for the noise-reduction wall at Thompson Place, a housing development adjacent to Interstate 5 in the Lacey area. The project had been listed since lawmakers approved a five-cent or nickel package of projects nearly a decade ago, Hunt said.
The $2.8 million noise-wall project received nearly $1 million in the last biennial transportation budget and is getting another $1.86 million in the 2011-13 appropriation, assuming Gregoire signs HB 1175 into law.
Hunt and Reykdal said there also is money for a ramp-metering project to ease the flow of traffic onto Interstate 5 near Joint Base Lewis-McChord, midway between Lacey and Tacoma. The budget provides $108,000 including federal dollars for that project. HB 1175 also has a provision requiring the state to work with local and regional planning agencies on a plan to reduce traffic along corridors affected by the JBLM staff expansion and it has $520,000 for additional van pools serving soldiers and civilians working at the joint Army and Air Force installation.
Among South Sound lawmakers, no House members voted against the transportation compromise budget. In the Senate, Republicans Mike Carrell of Lakewood and Pam Roach of Auburn voted against.