OLYMPIA – It looks like the state wants to start clearing away the confusion for drivers trying to get in and out of the Frontier Village shopping center in Lake Stevens.
Today, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a final transportation budget containing $500,000 for the Department of Transportation to begin the process of designing improvements to the intersection of Highway 9 and Highway 204 in front of the center.
On a 78-19 vote, the House passed the spending plan sent it by the Senate – with a handful of changes. If the Senate agrees with the House amendments then the budget will go to the governor for signing.
The budget outlines $8.6 billion in spending statewide between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2011. That amount is roughly $1 billion more than what the Legislature approved last year with most of the increase from new federal funds for rail projects.
In addition to the Frontier Village funds, other new items this year is money for hiring extra workers at the Mukilteo ferry terminal where the number of cars in holding lanes has increased since new lanes opened last year.
On another ferry-related matter, the budget patches a $38 million hole in the Washington State Ferries fuel budget with money from road maintenance and preservation reserves.
Gov. Chris Gregoire called for imposing a fuel surcharge on fares starting May 1 but lawmakers in both chambers are delaying any surcharge until at least July 2011.
The budget also provides $3.6 million for training a new class of Washington State Patrol troopers.
Both budgets passed Saturday now go to the House of Representatives for action.
Reporter Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; email@example.com