Potential freeway funding a step forward, long-term plan needed, says Shea

The state Senate Transportation Committee unveiled its proposed budget for 2009-11 Wednesday. The $4.3 billion plan includes funding for 400 projects, including $38 million for Spokane’s North-South Freeway.

Rep. Matt Shea welcomed the news, cautioning that there will still be give and take between the House and Senate in crafting the finished product. There have been disappointments over the years, he said, and until a final transportation plan is approved by both chambers, he’s not ready to declare victory.

“Moving forward on the North-South Freeway is absolutely vital for the region’s public safety and economic viability, and I am relieved and heartened that our project was included,” said Shea, R-Mead. “However, many promises regarding this project have been made in the past. We need to work hard and ensure that the funding will still be there when we vote on the final budget.”

The North Spokane Corridor appropriation would be directed toward design work and right-of-way land purchases for a new 3.1- mile segment from Francis Avenue to the Spokane River.

“This is a certainly a step forward,” said Shea,” but we also must stay focused on the more critical issue, and that’s identifying a viable long-term funding source to get the freeway completed.”

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Washington State House Republican Communications