Schoesler: Governor’s highway changes nowhere near enough

Senate leader says proposed changes to I-405 are ‘a small fix for a huge problem’

OLYMPIA…Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, released the following statement in response to today’s announcement by Gov. Jay Inslee regarding changes to traffic management on Interstate 405.

The unpopular imposition of high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes on I-405 was one of the many management failures cited recently when the Senate majority decided against confirming former state transportation secretary Lynn Peterson’s appointment. Inslee’s announcement came barely a week after he publicly attacked Schoesler and other senators over Peterson’s dismissal while denying any state Department of Transportation highway projects are failures.

“We’re glad the governor has finally acknowledged that the I-405 HOT lanes are an issue and that he’s choosing to adopt, in his proposal, some of the reforms that had already been suggested by Senator Hill. However, it’s important to note that he has not consulted with the Senate majority about his plan. He is ultimately responsible for its effect on the I-405 corridor. We hope he will work with us in the future so Washington commuters and employers can finally enjoy comprehensive, permanent, and meaningful congestion relief.

“These changes are a small fix for a huge problem and are nowhere near enough to solve the real issues of poor management at the Department of Transportation. We’re hoping those are also on the governor’s to-do list.”

Sen. Andy Hill of Redmond had introduced a set of I-405 reforms in mid-December, in Senate Bill 6152. Sen. Hill is a member of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus.

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