Wash. May Not Receive Relief Money
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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) _ As the damage tally from last week’s Northwest earthquake continues to climb, a lawmaker warned that the state may not receive federal money to repair the Capitol because of a labor agreement Gov. Gary Locke signed.
In anticipation of legislators approving $89 million in improvements to the building, Locke, a Democrat, placed a designation on the Capitol that says union labor must be used.
President Bush declared last month that no federal funds can go to projects with such a labor clause, so Federal Emergency Management Agency money to repair the building could be in jeopardy, said state Sen. Darlene Fairley.
Locke and lawmakers have been hoping that the government would pay for most of the repairs on state buildings.
Fairley said she and other Democrats are hoping FEMA will ``find that it’s an emergency situation and that the president’s edict does not apply to emergency funding.″
Marty Brown, the governor’s budget director, said Locke’s declaration was in keeping with an executive order signed by former Gov. Mike Lowry, also a Democrat. He said Locke was anxious to get a ruling from FEMA, but declined to speculate on what the governor would do if it goes against the state.
Meanwhile, officials said Friday that last week’s 6.8-magnitude quake did at least $150 million in damage to state government buildings, including $20 million required for emergency repairs to the Capitol itself.
As workers hoisted scaffolding and supports into place on the 27-story building Friday, the governor sent the preliminary damage estimate to FEMA.
The total also includes $70.2 million in damage to the major government buildings in Olympia and a state-owned boulevard along Capital Lake.
Ten of the 35-feet high, 6-foot thick columns that surround the base of the Capitol’s dome shifted during the quake and must be secured. The dome is not in danger of failing, experts say.
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