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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Sunday spin: A special session on transpo if…

OLYMPIA – With enough time, things that were once unthinkable can become conceivable options.

I’m not talking about anything as outrageous as using sarin gas or electing a Democrat in the 4th Legislative District. But a few months ago, it would have been incomprehensible to talk seriously about calling yet still another special session of the Legislature this year.

When legislators limped wearily out of Olympia in late June after two overtime sessions, it seemed like returning in January would be more than soon enough.

Now, however, a special session to address some of the state’s major transportation woes is being floated by Gov. Jay Inslee, who said last week he’d consider calling one in November if legislators could agree on a package of projects and revenue. . .

Keep Washington Rolling – a strange-bedfellows coalition of business and unions, environmentalists and farmers – thinks this is a terrific idea. That’s probably not surprising, considering the name is about vehicles rolling over  highways and bridges not some oblique reference to the newly legal marijuana.

Considerably less enthusiastic are folks in charge of the state Senate. They’ve got a series of public meetings scheduled around the state this month and next to talk about transportation projects, including one in Spokane at 6 p.m. Oct. 2 at Greater Spokane Inc. offices, 801 W. Riverside.

Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler of Ritzville said he wants to hear what folks have to say before deciding on a special session.

This may be bad news for Inslee and Keep Washington Rolling. By the time the great thoughts from the statewide “listening tour” are compiled and translated into something resembling a real proposal, it could be late October. The construction season would be all but over, and the holidays approaching. With the 2014 session just a couple months away, and the urge to wait will be strong. In politics as in physics, a body at rest tends to stay at rest.

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