Dear Friends and Neighbors,
With just over two weeks left in the 2023 legislative session, much of the focus turns to state budgets. As a member of the House Transportation Committee, I am pleased to report we included additional funding for the North/South Freeway. This is in stark contrast to Gov. Jay Inslee’s transportation budget released earlier which delayed this much-needed project.
I want to thank Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward and Spokane County Commission Chair Mary Kuney for helping make the case for the region when they visited Olympia earlier this session. As I said in a press release I sent out last week:
“The House transportation budget includes additional funding for the North Spokane Corridor,” said Volz. “I think Spokane owes a huge debt of gratitude to its mayor and the chair of the county commission. They were instrumental in making the case for the safety and transportation needs of our citizens. They were able to make it personal, yet at the same time, point out the economic advantages for our local economy both through continuing the construction projects and through increased transportation opportunities for our region.”
I also want to thank Spokane Valley Representative Suzanne Schmidt for her work on this funding. Rep. Andrew Barkis, the ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee also said in my release:
“Representatives Mike Volz and Suzanne Schmidt do a great job bringing people together to find solutions to large and small problems alike,” said Barkis. “They collaborate well with their local elected officials and stakeholders to bring their needs to the table. They are very well versed on the transportation and economic needs of their districts and their region. They do a commendable job representing Spokane, Spokane Valley, and all of Eastern Washington.”
Barkis said their efforts, along with Woodward and Kuney’s, helped forestall Inslee’s delay of the North Spokane Corridor. In addition, the House transportation budget allocates an extra $176 million to fully fund the project to Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) request level and keep it moving forward and on schedule.
What should final N/S Freeway connection to I-90 look like?
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is soliciting feedback from the public on what the final connection to I-90 should look like. On its Twitter page, WSDOT East published the map below:
This is your chance to weigh in. Click here to take WSDOT’s short survey.
The nursing shortage around the state, especially in the Spokane region, is reaching a critical stage. I sponsored House Bill 1417 which would allow our state to join the multistate nursing licensure compact. If someone is a licensed nurse in another state (those that have previously joined the multistate compact), they should be allowed to practice nursing here in our state. While my bill stalled in the House, another very similar proposal, Senate Bill 5499, recently passed the Legislature. You can read more about this effort in today’s Spokesman-Review here.
We are still negotiating to find a workable solution to police pursuits and the Blake decision to help keep our communities safe. There is much to do in these final two weeks of the session. As always, thank you for staying involved. If you have questions or concerns about a state government issue, please feel free to contact my office. We are here to serve.