OLYMPIA, Wash. – A new transportation budget was adopted by the Senate on Thursday will add $400,000 for safety improvements along SR-26 and US-195. The two roads carry most in-state travelers headed to and from Washington State University’s Pullman campus.

The Senate’s 0217-19 transportation plan contains more than $42 million for transportation-related activities in the 9th Legislative District, including highway and rail projects.

The WSU related appropriation is unique because it is not earmarked for specific project but would be spent by the Washington State Department of Transportation “in consultation” with WSU stakeholders.

“Every year it seems there’s at least one fatal crash on SR-26 or US-195 associated with ‘Cougar Nation,” said Senator Mark Schoesler in a press release, “The challenge of making those corridors safer is recognized by everyone I’ve talked to at WSU, from President Schulz to the student leaders who came over to share their concerns.”

The Legislature designated funding to address road conditions that may be factors Schoesler said. These conditions include climbing lanes between Dusty and Colfax.

“The other side of the highway-safety equation involves drivers, and that’s where the university comes in. Let’s bring WSDOT and WSU together, with some money available for investing and see what kind of innovative ideas emerge. I’m betting they will come up with more than one way to reduce the risks,” Schoesler said.

The Senate budget includes $10.1 million to add passing lanes on U.S.-195 between Colfax and Spangle, which will help with WSU related traffic.