Senator Haugen Blows Off U.S. 2, Too

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Like her Democratic colleagues in the House, Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen (D-10) -- chair of the Transportation Committee -- refused to put any money for much-needed safety improvements for U.S. 2 into the budget. Haugen earmarked $95 million for her own district, including $82 million for Highway 532 (which leads from I-5, through Stanwood, to her home on Camano Island) and $13 million ($10 million more than the House and governor requested) for an Amtrak station (also in Stanwood).

Sen. Val Stevens (R-39) proposed an amendment to divert the $13 million for the Amtrak station to road widening on U.S. 2. Haugen, of course, led Democrats to vote it down.

I live right off 532. I know it needs improvements, and I welcome them. But I also know that U.S. 2 sees more traffic and more death and therefore is obviously more important. Just one month ago, Haugen seemed to agree, saying "safety must be the highest priority of our state transportation system."

Speaking of projects to improve U.S. 2, specifically, she said, "Everyone, including me, is in favor of getting these projects done. The catch is that no one I have spoken to can provide me with a realistic source for the $2 billion it would take to fund all of these projects at once. Until someone does, we'll have to prioritize how we allocate our limited transportation dollars between these projects, and similar projects all over the state."

By "between these projects, and similar projects all over the state," Haugen apparently meant "not any of these projects, but instead, nearly $100 million for transportation near my home."

She concluded: "I feel the frustration along with everyone else who gets stuck in traffic. My commute from Camano Island to Olympia during the legislative session takes me through some of the most congested miles of highway in our state -- in Everett, Seattle and Tacoma. I get stuck in traffic just like everyone else, and agree that we need to work toward reducing congestion on our highways -- but not at the risk of sacrificing safety."

Unfortunately, reducing congrestion at the risk of sacrificing safety is precisely what Haugen is doing.

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on February 27, 2008 10:39 PM.

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