Warren Magnuson leads state House of Representatives in authorizing $10 million in emergency relief bonds for construction work on February 24, 1933.

  • By Paula Becker
  • Posted 1/26/2005
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 7223
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On February 24, 1933, State Representative (and future U.S. Senator) Warren G. Magnuson (1905-1989) leads the Washington House of Representatives in passing House Bill 263, which authorizes $10 million in emergency relief bonds for construction projects. Little of the money is used for highway purposes, but according to highway director Lacey V. Murrow, four-tenths of every cent of the gas tax is set aside to pay interest on the bond issue and to retire it.

In explaining the need for emergency relief, the bill stated, "A critical emergency calling for constructive action is presented; otherwise catastrophe impends" (Section 1). The purpose of the bill was to put unemployed Washingtonians back to work quickly, with the secondary goal that their tasks would benefit the state.

Prior to the passage of this bill, Washington had been one of the few states with no bonded highway indebtedness, having built roads on a pay-as-you-go basis.

The Senate passed the bill on March 1, 1933, and Governor Clarence Martin (1887-1955) signed it on March 7, 1933.


Washington State Highway Commission, A History of the Washington State Highway Commission Department of Highways, 1889-1959 (Olympia?, 1960), 15; Fifteenth Biennial Report of the Director of Highways, 1932-1934 (Olympia: State Printing Plant, 1934), 15; 1933 Wash. Laws, Ch. 65.

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