Hawkins comments on Senate passage of “Move Ahead Washington” transportation proposal

The Legislature’s “Move Ahead Washington” proposal, unveiled just a week ago on Feb. 8, continues to be on a fast track, receiving full Senate approval tonight after being approved by the Senate Transportation Committee on Monday. Senate Bill 5974 was approved by the full Senate by a vote of 29 to 20.

Sen. Brad Hawkins voted against the package in committee and in the full Senate but has been actively involved in discussions with Sen. Marko Liias and Sen. Curtis King, leaders of the Senate Transportation Committee, to include Wenatchee Valley projects in the proposal.

“I offered two amendments tonight because the ‘Move Ahead Washington’ transportation proposal developed by House and Senate Democratic leaders is not yet a ‘statewide’ investment package as it leaves a gigantic donut hole in the center of the state,” said Hawkins. “My Senate Transportation Committee colleagues may be familiar with the Wenatchee Valley projects, but I needed to get these before the full Senate, even if acceptance of the projects at this time was not likely.”

Both floor amendments were defeated. To view Hawkins’ two floor amendments, go here and here.

For more information about Wenatchee Valley transportation projects, click here.

For an aerial image of Wenatchee showing the Confluence Parkway bridge location, click here.

While no additional projects were included in tonight’s advancement through the Senate, Hawkins remains encouraged about the possibility of the signature project, known as Confluence Parkway.

“I continue to be optimistic of the possibilities for Confluence Parkway’s $85 million of funding this session,” said Hawkins. “Many thanks to Wenatchee Mayor Frank Kuntz, Richard DeRock of LINK Transit, Jeff Wilkens of the Chelan-Douglas Transportation Council, and Congresswoman Kim Schrier, who all worked closely with me over the past several days and weeks to make major progress toward advancing this project. My discussions with Chair Liias over the past several days have been encouraging, which suggests to me that this project is something on his radar for the remaining days of the session.”

The $134 million Confluence Parkway project would help mitigate the growing traffic challenges in north Wenatchee near the Wenatchee River. Funding includes $49 million from a recent federal grant, leaving $85 million needed to complete construction. The project includes a new roadway and new bridge connecting to the U.S. 2/97 interchange and offers benefits for LINK Transit, as well as trail and pedestrian modifications. Kuntz, DeRock, and Wilkens highlighted the project in a Feb. 3 PowerPoint presentation to Liias, Hawkins, and others – click here.

Senate Bill 5974 now advances to the House Transportation Committee where it is expected to promptly receive a public hearing.

What Supporters Are Saying

“Completing the Confluence Parkway project is vital to the future of the Wenatchee Valley. These are improvements that will have real, positive impacts on people’s daily lives. I went to bat to help secure $49 million from the federal government for the project. Now it is time for the state to do its part. I will continue to work with Sen. Hawkins to convey to his colleagues the critical importance of the Confluence Parkway project.”

Congresswoman Kim Schrier, 8th Congressional District

“Although tonight’s vote was not successful, I would like to thank Senator Hawkins for his work on behalf of the region. The city is committed to continuing dialogue with Senator Liias and Representative Fey to identify funding to complete Confluence Parkway.”

Mayor Frank Kuntz, City of Wenatchee

“The session isn’t over yet. Securing funds in Olympia for local transportation priorities is always a challenge, but I remain optimistic Senator Hawkins’ efforts can get us there.”

Jeff Wilkens, Executive Director of the Chelan-Douglas Transportation Council

Hawkins Audio Clips

Hawkins’ audio clips on Move Ahead Washington: