OOBT

1. The Spokesman-Review reports that problems with two state freeway "megaprojects"—the reconstruction of the SR 520 bridge across Lake Washington and the indefinitely delayed Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project—could jeapordize any gasoline-tax proposal to pay for state transportation projects, according to Republicans who spoke at an AP-sponsored forum yesterday. 

Moreover, according to the Spokesman-Review, "Members of both parties from both chambers agreed on one point: Any transportation package will be without the controversial Columbia River Crossing bridge between Vancouver and Portland." 

Good luck with those negotiations, guys. 

Image via WSDOT.

2. The Everett Herald offers a gracious goodbye to state Sen. Paull Shin (D-21), who resigned this week, effective immediately, citing a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. Shin, they write,

exhibited integrity and compassion his whole public career, from professor to the corridors of the state senate. His final act, a letter Tuesday that announced his Alzheimer's diagnosis and senate resignation, reveals the very qualities that endear him to his constituents and friends alike. For many, Alzheimer's carries a stigma. With dignity and candor, Shin erodes that stigma.

We wish all the best for Shin and his family.

3. Jalopnik (the Gawker-affiliated car web site) ranks Seattle dead last (or first?) among the U.S. cities "least prepared for winter," citing our "completely inadequate" snow preparedness strategy, our huge hills, and the fact that "the city basically shuts down every time we get a couple of inches" of snow.

"It wasn't even a contest," the car site writes. (In fairness, our fat-tire bike enthusiasts seem to make it around pretty well even when the cars and buses are totally flummoxed by a light dusting.)

4. Lab tests show that despite Chinese concerns over potentially unsafe levels of arsenic in geoduck and other shellfish from the Washington state coast (China banned imports of all West Coast shellfish in December), tests of geoduck from the beaches whose shellfish prompted the ban turned up clean, Seattle-based Food Safety News reports. 

Ninety percent of the U.S.'s geoduck exports last year went to China, and the vast majority of those came from Washington's Puget Sound, meaning that the sudden ban had a huge economic impact on shellfish exporters in the region.

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