State lawmakers urge probe into $58 million graving yard abandonment

Peninsula Daily News

OLYMPIA, WA-- The three legislators representing Clallam and Jefferson counties are asking the Legislature to investigate the state Department of Transportation's pullout of its graving yard project in Port Angeles.

Their letter to the House leadership also asks that the Legislature seek state and federal participation in a solution that addresses the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe's need to preserve its heritage while allowing completion of the Hood Canal Bridge graving yard in Port Angeles.

``Our taxpayers deserve an explanation and an opportunity to see that the $58 million is not wasted,'' the letter says.

It was signed by Reps. Jim Buck, R-Joyce, and Lynn Kessler, D-Hoquiam, and Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam. Their 24th Legislative District includes the North Olympic Peninsula and part of Grays Harbor County.

The correspondence was sent to House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, and Minority Leader Bruce Chandler, R-Granger.

Chandler told the PDN on Thursday that the Legislature will give ``pretty serious consideration'' to reversing Transportation Secretary Doug MacDonald's decision to abandon the project in Port Angeles.

``I think as the session gets started, quite a number of legislators will want to take a real careful review of that situation,'' he said.

``The loss of $58 million has some people real concerned.''

A `clear sense'

Chandler said many legislators from both parties ``who need to get a clear sense of what is involved and what happened.''

The Legislature convenes its 2005 session next week.

``I think the Legislature will give pretty serious consideration to overriding (Transportation). There's a strong possibility,'' Chandler said.

Chopp was unavailable for comment Thursday night, as were Kessler and Hargrove.



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