Eastside State Reps. Ross Hunter (D-Medina) and Deb Eddy (D-Kirkland) joined Governor Chris Gregoire at Bellevue City Hall this morning where she signed ESSB 6392, the breakthrough compromise bill that frees up construction funding for Eastside projects related to the 520 floating bridge.
Legislation passed last session designated early toll-backed bond funding for construction of the 520 floating bridge and necessary landings only. Both Hunter and Eddy voted against the bill saying the restrictions caused an unnecessary delay on shovel-ready Eastside projects.
“We’ve got construction workers needing jobs and construction jobs ready to go,” said Eddy, one of the key lawmakers who worked on the compromise. “We’ve got thousands of commuters and businesses who want us to put the studies back on the shelf and get these projects going. Though we still have unresolved issues on the west side of the bridge, it’s critical we move forward on those pieces of the project that are finalized and I’m very happy we came up with a strategy to do just that.”
ESSB 6392 allows toll-backed construction bonds to be used for Eastside projects, an estimated $800 million of construction. The bill also directs a work group to continue working on mitigation and transit issues yet to be resolved on the west side of the bridge.
“We’ve been talking about this project for more than a decade,” says Hunter. “When it comes to regional priorities for both our businesses and our workers, the 520 bridge project is at the top. The Eastside projects are ready to start – we should move forward here while we nail down the last few details on the West side. This strategy is one that works for everyone.”