Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are entering the home stretch before our scheduled sine die on Thursday, March 13. The state House passed three supplemental budgets this week – operating, capital and transportation. The spending proposals are being negotiated with the state Senate and final budgets will be voted on next week.
The House transportation budget passed on Tuesday included an amendment I offered that would accelerate the permitting and contracting process for state bridges deemed structurally deficient. The amendment comes from House Bill 2071, which I introduced last year after the collapse of the Skagit River Bridge. It takes too long to replace aging, deficient bridges. Consider the Meridian Street Puyallup River Bridge, built in 1925, carrying 17,000 cars daily, and earning a structural sufficiency rating of two out of one hundred. Truck travel is restricted in the northbound left lane. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has prioritized the Puyallup River Bridge for replacement, but work is not expected to be complete on a new bridge until late 2015. This work should have been done long ago. I am hopeful that this provision will remain in the final supplemental transportation budget that is voted on next week.
I am also working on improving partnerships between schools, families, and communities. Last year I visited McCarver Elementary School in Tacoma and learned about the innovative partnership between the Tacoma School District and the Tacoma Housing Authority to get low-income parents involved in their children's education. I introduced House Bill 2462 to add a new preference to the state's housing fund to benefit projects featuring collaborative partnerships between local school districts and public housing authorities. My bill passed out of committee but did not make it out of the House, so I have been working to pass Sen. Bruce Dammeier's companion bill, Senate Bill 6338 in the final week. You can read more about this program and the proposed legislation by clicking: Legislation aims to help homeless students by housing their families closer to schools.
Coffee chats with Rep. Zeiger
As the session concludes, I want to invite you to join me for one of two upcoming “Coffee Chats.” They will be held Saturday, March 15 at the following locations:
9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
109 W Pioneer Ave.
12:30 p.m. – 2 p.m.
9909 168th Ave. E, Suite 101,
These Coffee Chats are informal drop-in events, and I hope you're able to come by. I look forward to discussing issues like education funding, the state budget, transportation, and health care. If you have any questions about the Coffee Chats contact my office at 360-786-7968.
468 John L.O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7968 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000