Stimulus dollars aid Spokane’s transportation grid

Spokane will be able to complete another four miles of its long-delayed North Spokane Corridor, thanks to $35 million in federal dollars from the so-called Obama stimulus package.

That’s good news for members of Local 86, the District 751 lodge in Spokane, who for decades have waited for state and local officials to complete the north-south route through the heart of Spokane, linking Interstate 90 to U.S. Highway 395.

The corridor expansion “will save shippers both time and money while freeing Spokane motorists from avoidable traffic congestion and relieving much of the 2.4 million pounds of carbon dioxide generated when the large rigs creep from intersection to intersection and sometimes tie up traffic through multiple signal changes while they navigate their semis through tight turns,” according to the editorial board of the Spokesman-Review newspaper — where the workers who run the presses are Local 86 members.

Local 86 represents mechanics at Kenworth Sales, Penske Truck Leasing, Cummins Northwest, United Parcel Services and B&B Truck Services — all companies that have a vested interest in improving routes for trucks hauling freight through eastern Washington’s largest city.

The North Spokane project is “exactly the type of project I had in mind when working to create this grant program,” said U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, who announced that Spokane had won the funding. “This project puts people to work, improves safety, reduces congestion, and helps build a more economically vibrant and competitive region.”

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