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State Transportation Budget Approved 3/28/2011
House lawmakers have overwhelmingly approved an $8.9 billion transportation budget for the next two years that supporters describe as a painful but prudent response to the current fiscal reality.

The House voted 89-6 Friday to adopt the budget, which includes $1.1 billion for highway maintenance, $402 million for passenger rail and $237 million for ferry terminal and vessel projects.

Republican Rep. Mike Armstrong of Wenatchee called it a tighten-the-belt kind of budget that is appropriate for the time we're in.

The plan includes fewer service cuts and a smaller rate hike for Washington's ferry system than Gov. Chris Gregoire had wanted. The most recent revenue forecast showed the state's deficit to be $780 million deeper than previously thought.

The House and the Senate will now concentrate on the other two major state budgets the Operations Budget and the Capital Budget.

Tune in to KOZI on Friday mornings at 8:30 as we get the latest information from Olympia with our Legislators via telephone conference.