Forty-second District Reps. Vincent Buys and Luanne Van Werven issued the following joint statement today after Gov. Jay Inslee vetoed a section of the transportation budget that would have provided funding for a new I-5/Exit 274 interchange project in Blaine.
“We are extremely disappointed the governor chose to veto a project that would have significantly improved freight mobility in our region. Unfortunately, the governor used a meaningless technicality rather than move forward on a project the community of Blaine desperately needs in order to attract more jobs and businesses to the city.
“In his veto letter, the governor noted a lack of sufficient information about the project’s scope. A transportation project of this magnitude does not arrive at the governor’s desk without thorough vetting. Transportation leaders in the House and Senate had access to more than a hundred supporting documents provided by the Washington State Department of Transportation and Blaine city leaders.
“What’s perhaps most baffling is not once was concern raised with our offices over this project. This was the only construction project the governor vetoed. The transportation budget passed both chambers with overwhelming bipartisan support. To have the project vetoed is not just disappointing, it’s preposterous.
“Fact is, other areas of our state have not been fortunate enough to enjoy the same economic growth as King County. Yet instead of approving legislation and projects to assist those other areas of our state, the governor has taken a red pen to a project that would have connected hardworking Washingtonians to jobs they need to make ends meet. The new, $12.1 million interchange project would have provided a direct connection to Blaine’s industrial area, thereby spurring economic development vital to the region.
“The governor often speaks of job creation and ‘One Washington,’ but we’ve yet to see his priorities align with that very mentality when it comes to rural areas of the state. His veto begs the question: Had the project been located in the greater Seattle area, would it have met the same fate?
“Residents in rural areas of our state don’t have time for the governor’s partisan temper tantrum. As one of our nation’s busiest international ports of entry, sharing a border with our largest trade partner, Canada, Blaine needs and deserves freight mobility improvements.”