OLYMPIA - Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, is pleased with the benefit the Senate's transportation budget will have on the 35th District and the state as a whole.
"This was truly a bipartisan effort," Sheldon said. "We had productive input from all sides, and when that is the case, the people of Washington and the 35th are the winners."
The budget, which cleared the Senate with a 37-11 vote Tuesday, includes $750,000 to pay for an environmental assessment of the Belfair Bypass project located on Route 3 in Mason County. This project, a 4.5-5 mile stretch of road, will help alleviate traffic congestion through Belfair and promote economic development in the area, as well.
“This is a very important issue for the people of Mason and Kitsap Counties,” Sheldon said. “This is a major hurdle to clear, and while there are still more down the track, this is certainly a step in the right direction.”
The $8.6 billion budget, Senate Bill 6381, will employ 18,000 workers throughout Washington the next two years and keep transportation projects across the state on schedule.
“The Belfair Bypass has long been identified as the top priority of local governments on the Olympic Peninsula as well as Kitsap County,” Sheldon said.
Of the 391 projects funded by the 2003 “nickel” and 2005 “TPA” gas tax increases, 241 have been completed, 54 are under construction and 21 will be advertised for construction in the next six months. Of the 47 projects funded by federal stimulus dollars, 21 have already been completed. Meanwhile, 100 percent of the overall $340 million in stimulus funds were obligated on schedule, qualifying Washington for additional funds that come back from states that failed to meet the deadline.