Honoring a legacy of public service: Houses passes measure to name State Route 395 after late Speaker Tom Foley

OLYMPIA – For 30 years, former Speaker of the House Tom Foley represented his eastern Washington district in the U.S. House of Representatives, eventually becoming the first Speaker from west of the Rocky Mountains. During his time in Congress, he secured over $289 million in federal funds for State Route 395, significantly increasing safety and helping move people and freight more efficiently in eastern Washington.

In honor of his public service and commitment to Washington’s infrastructure, the House of Representatives today passed a joint memorial requesting to name State Route 395 the “Thomas S. ‘Tom’ Foley Memorial Highway.” Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane, sponsored the measure.

“Speaker Foley believed strongly in the importance of maintaining and improving our infrastructure. He thought good roads and highways were essential to our future as a nation,” Riccelli said. “Numerous communities up and down the 395 corridor have already passed their own resolutions to name this highway in his honor.”

Proposals to name highways, bridges and transportation facilities in Washington state go through the Washington State Transportation Commission (WSTC). If Riccelli’s measure passes the state Senate, the WSTC will hold a public hearing on it before taking final action.

Speaker Foley passed away in 2013. In addition to serving as Speaker of the House, he was also the U.S. Ambassador to Japan.

“We can all reflect on his legacy of setting partisan differences aside to advance public policy for the greater good. This highway – the backbone of transportation in his home region – is a great way to honor that legacy,” Riccelli said.