“The transportation investment package voted on today in the Senate had both good and bad elements for the Spokane region. While I voted ‘no’ today, I plan to continue to work to pass a transportation package that responsibly invests in Spokane’s infrastructure needs.

“I was glad to see the package recognized Spokane’s major and growing transportation needs. It would have provided a major investment for the North Spokane Corridor, provided funding for the Central City Line, and funded maintenance on our roads and bridges. These are all good things that I believe need to be included in a transportation package.

“Despite some promising investments for Spokane, these came at a major cost. The proposal would move a billion dollars out of our operating budget, money which we critically need for students in our schools. Our state’s paramount duty is education and I don’t think it makes sense to lay asphalt at the expense of lower tuition at our colleges, smaller class sizes for our students or better pre-school for the youngest learners. At a time when we are under a contempt of court order to fund our schools, our students and their needs should come first. The package would also have prevented the state from taking important steps to keep our air and water clean and failed to include some key projects like the U-District pedestrian bridge, and these issues need to be resolved before the package can become final. I supported an attempt to amend the package to resolve some of these issues so the package could have had stronger Democratic support – that amendment was not accepted by the majority in the Senate.

“I am encouraged that the package made its way over to the House where work on the proposal can continue and these problems can hopefully be resolved. Transportation investment remains one of my top legislative priorities and I am optimistic that I will be casting a ‘yes’ vote on a true compromise transportation package before the end of the legislative session that responsibly invests in our roads, bridges, and transit.”