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WA Lege Day 48: Senate passes transportation budget

OLYMPIA -- The Senate passed a multi-million dollar transportation budget this afternoon on a vote of 41-3.

The proposal was described as a jobs bill, a way to improve government and a guide for the more contentious operating budget, which comes up next.

Sen. Chris Marr, D-Spokane, said described it a boost to the struggling economy.

"Given the economy, the biggest issue we face in this chamber is jobs," he said.

The only voiced opposition centered on a proposal to spend $590 million in federal money to build a high-speed rail line between Seattle and Portland. Republican Sen. Mike Carrell said his constituents in Lakewood will be cut off as a "sleepy little track" becomes an express route, with up to 50 trains a day.

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The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.