Governor Gregoire yesterday signed into law an updated $8.5 billion state transportation budget that lawmakers say will bankroll thousands of construction jobs- but get rid of some management and licensing positions.
The supplemental budget plan is about $1 billion more than last year’s biennial budget. The increase is mostly from federal money that will pay for large projects, including $590 million to increase the speed of trains on the rail corridor between Oregon and British Columbia. The budget also includes an additional $30 million for fuel costs, primarily for ferries, and $3 million for storm water treatment.
Cuts in the transportation budget include fewer Department of Transportation management positions, and the closure of up to 25 licensing offices.