Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, issued the following statement today following the signing of the transportation revenue package:

“The 2015 legislative session has finally concluded and Pierce County is a big winner.

“Millions of dollars were at stake for Pierce County, money that will lead to a strengthened infrastructure, an improved economy, and more jobs in our communities in the greater Tacoma area.

“I am pleased to report that the 2015 Legislature has passed a capital budget and transportation revenue package and as a result Pierce County will receive $2.5 billion over the next several years in investments in roads, transit, schools and parks.

“Important projects coming to Pierce County include funding to connect SR 167 and SR 509 with I-5 and to alleviate Joint Base Lewis McChord traffic. It also designates funding towards the Safe Routes to School grant, which will lead to more sidewalks ensuring our kids’ safety when they walk to school. Finally, it provides funding for Pierce Transit to develop express bus service between Tacoma and Parkland/Spanaway.

“In addition, we were able to pass a capital budget that includes more than $200 million for projects in Pierce County. Local projects coming to our area include:

  • $16 million for the University of Washington-Tacoma’s Urban Solutions Center.
  • $3.4 million for Clover Park Technical College’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Building.
  • More than $45 million for improvements at Western State Hospital;
  • Funding for a veterans’ shelter;
  • Development of the Franklin-Pierce Early Learning Center;
  • $5 million for clean up at the Port of Tacoma;
  • $500,000 for access improvements for the disabled at the Lemay Car Museum;
  • Historic allocations for Metro Parks Tacoma; and
  • $750,000 for the Stan and Joan Cross Park in Frederickson.

“Statewide, the capital budget funds 500 new classrooms and provides $33 million for mental health services by expanding the number of community behavioral health beds The Capital Budget is a job creator and recession buster; its passing will help our economy continue to recover.

“The transportation package and capital budget could not come at a better time for those seeking family wage employment and veterans returning home seeking work. Between the two budgets, 250,000 new construction jobs are created statewide over the next eight years. This kind of job creation pairs perfectly with my bill to fund a Helmets to Hardhats coordinator to provide returning soldiers with access to construction apprenticeships and assistance to get them on the right track to full-time employment.

“Additionally, the transportation package and capital budget will create jobs for vets, and the Helmets to Hardhats coordinator will usher those veterans into these new jobs. It’s the perfect combination and it’s the best thing we can do at the state level to support our veterans seeking employment.

“A lot was at stake this overtime session for Pierce County. I am proud that we were able to come up with a solution that creates jobs, drives our economy, and benefits our district and the people of Pierce County.”