Schoesler pleased SR-26 passing lane project funded in final transportation budget

Washington State University students and other members of “Cougar Nation” will be among those benefiting from a passing-lane project for State Route 26 that is accelerated in the new two-year state transportation budget passed by the Senate today, said 9th District Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville.

The 2019-21 transportation budget provides $11.15 million for the project, which will add climbing lanes on SR-26 between Dusty and Colfax in Whitman County.

“There has been a real need for climbing lanes along this stretch of Highway 26 because of how unsafe it is for drivers to pass due to limited visibility caused by hills. Adding these climbing lanes will make trips on this part of the highway much safer for drivers,” said Schoesler, who noted construction could begin as early as next year.

“Seventy percent of the students who go to WSU come from western Washington,” said Schoesler during his floor speech in support of the final version of the transportation budget. “Their safety and Coug Nation’s safety is important when they come to Pullman for Dad’s Weekend, Mom’s Weekend or the Apple Cup. Hopefully, when folks come over to the 2020 Apple Cup, they’ll be able to see the completed passing lanes.”     

Schoesler praised Pullman Mayor Glenn Johnson for organizing a grass-roots effort to secure funding for the SR-26 climbing lanes. Schoesler also lauded Senate Transportation Committee Chair Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, and Yakima Sen. Curtis King, the committee’s ranking Republican, for moving up the project’s timeline so it can be completed sooner.            

Schoesler joined the rest of the Senate Sunday in voting 49-0 to approve the final version of the state transportation budget. The House passed the final transportation budget 96-2 today.