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Hot roads

Interesting morning on the Washington Senate floor, as the members scrapped over amendments to House Bill 2878, a supplemental budget bill.

Which one got so much interest? This was the transportation funding bill.

Just now, a proposal to increase funding for improvements on Highway 2 over the Cascades, a road that, in our observation, could use it. Nobody really argued that improvements aren’t needed; the issue was that the limited available money is being pulled in so many different amendments.

Even the Snohomish County delegation was split on the matter, and so were the King Countians. After Senator Ed Murray, D-Seattle, ran through a strong argument against the spending, another senator, Cheryl Pflug, R-Maple Valley, rose to object to his use of the word “snide.” He withdrew it. (The proposal ultimately failed, 19-30.)

And so it went on, and on – proposal after proposal, some of them aimed broadly (one that had to do with encouraging car sharing and leases) and narrowly (very specific projects – can you say “earmark”?). Through it, Senator Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, rose repeatedly to keep the existing transport funding bill more or less intact (more successfully than not, it seemed).

Do you get the impression that transportation is right up there on the political front burner in Washington?

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