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Yesterday, the legislature gave Seattle the shaft on transportation stimulus money, which it poured instead into rural highway concrete. But an interesting story arose at

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Jan Drago Says She Didn't Know About Stimulus Slight, Rips State's Funding Decisions

drago.jpg
Yesterday, the legislature gave Seattle the shaft on transportation stimulus money, which it poured instead into rural highway concrete. But an interesting story arose at the news conference, in which House Transportation Chair Judy Clibborn said Jan Drago and Greg Nickels knew ahead of time about the funding decisions because she had told them (or at least told Drago).

This is significant because the city council voted Monday to release funds for the Mercer corridor project, with several council members citing anticipated stimulus dollars as a rationale.

Drago says Clibborn's remarks "weren't quite accurate...First of all, I didn't talk to her last week," as Clibborn alleged. "We talked on Sunday night...I certainly did not consider it to be definitive...she said if they opened the package to local projects [i.e. non-state roads projects] that all of her members would want a piece of that."

Citing the Mercer project's shovel readiness and private support, Seattle's role as a job center, Drago says the state's omission of it and other Seattle-area projects "makes absolutely no sense. It's not logical." The state estimates that the $341 million it will spend on the SDOT projects will create 6,600 new construction jobs by June, but Drago says "for $50 million, the Mercer project will produce 575 construction jobs, 6,000 direct & indirect jobs. The whole global health corridor--those are new jobs." [The above paragraph has been corrected to attribute the quotations to Drago, rather than Clibborn.]

Saying "the game isn't over," Drago notes the governor's continued support for the funding--the project is part of the Viaduct replacement plan--and adds that the city will be applying for stimulus dollars directly from the federal DOT.

 
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