WALLA WALLA – Feb. 13, 2004 – Gov. Gary Locke today received a transportation leadership award from the U.S. Highway 12 Coalition in Walla Walla. The award recognizes the governor’s leadership on transportation issues, particularly his work to secure funding for the widening of U.S. Highway 12.
“I accept this award on behalf of all the individuals who worked so hard to make our transportation plan a reality,” Locke said. “I am proud of the transportation-improvement plan we enacted, and we are beginning to see the results across our state.”
The $4.2 billion transportation package was passed by the Legislature in 2003. The plan makes key investments to rebuild, expand and improve the safety of Washington highways; supports the replacement of 1927-era ferry vessels; provides grants for transit services – especially for the disabled and seniors; and strengthens the state’s successful passenger rail program. The plan also had added accountability measures and took scores of other steps to improve the state’s transportation system.
“I thank the governor for his leadership on transportation,” said Jim Kuntz, executive director of the Port of Walla Walla and a member of the U.S. Highway 12 Coalition. “We greatly appreciate the governor’s support for expanding U.S. Highway 12 into a four-lane divided highway.” The coalition is an alliance of public and private organizations working to widen U.S. Highway 12 to four lanes.
“The leadership of the coalition was crucial to putting the Highway 12 corridor on the right course,” Locke said. “There are few things we can do that will provide greater benefit to the economic health and safety of Southeast Washington residents. I am very proud to be a part of the Highway 12 solution.”