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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Last Minute Compromise Adds Cross-Base Back into Roads and Transit Package

Move could lead to paving of our last, best remaining prairie

The Regional Transportation Investment District (RTID) Planning Committee has approved a package that includes a last minute compromise involving the Cross Base Highway (SR 704).

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Seattle, WA Jun 08, 2007

This morning the Regional Transportation Investment District (RTID) planning committee approved a package that included a last minute compromise involving the Cross-Base Highway (SR 704).

The package now funds the Cross-Base Highway at $35 million with an extra $10 million in environmental mitigation, while setting up a mediation process with interested parties to discuss alternative solutions that may result in an additional $60 million of funding for the project.

Conservation Northwest did not sign onto this compromise package, and with the inclusion of funding for this unnecessary highway, will not support the joint roads and transit ballot measure in front of voters this fall.

“The idea of paving our last remaining prairies was a bad idea last week when the RTID board rejected that portion of the Cross-Base Highway, and is still a bad idea today,” said Jen Watkins of Conservation Northwest.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service believes that the remaining South Puget Sound prairies may possibly be the rarest habitat in North America, home to at least 29 species of federal or state threatened, endangered, candidate, or sensitive plant and animal species of concern, 18 of which are in the immediate vicinity of the proposed Cross-Base Highway.

“The bottom line is that we cannot support a package that proposes to waste taxpayer dollars on a project that does not solve traffic congestion and destroys some of our last remaining oak-woodland prairie,” said Dave Werntz, science and conservation director of Conservation Northwest.

The package as approved today now goes to the county councils for approval and then to the voters in fall of this year.

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