Gov. Chris Gregoire today thanked Congress for taking action to reauthorize the surface transportation bill:
"I thank Congress for passing the critical transportation reauthorization bill that will help continue to rebuild our economy, putting Washingtonians to work while making investments in our infrastructure. Last month, I outlined a series of important programs for our state, to include the ferry program and Projects of National Significance program, and am pleased that they've all been included. In Washington, our transportation infrastructure is a crucial economic driver and our dependence on freight mobility is vital to our economic competitiveness. Today, Congress ensured that the federal government remains a partner, helping us continue the amazing progress we've been making in all corners of our state.
"I also thank Congress for extending the lower interest rate on federally-subsidized student loans -- positively affecting over 83,000 undergraduate students in Washington. Had Congress not acted, the interest rate on these Stafford loans would have doubled, making access to college that much more difficult.
"And, finally, Congress also extended a program that is of vital importance for our rural communities: Secure Rural Schools. Secure Rural Schools helps our rural communities continue to carry out much needed services through schools, libraries, police forces and public health agencies."