Despite legislators having to try to close a billion dollar plus shortfall as they convene this week in Olympia, Gov. Gregoire is expected to ask for billions for transportation projects--and wants voters to pay for it.

Gregoire, in her state of the state speech, is expected to outline billions needed for road, ferry and transportation upgrades, and wants the measures to go to the voters in November.  At the same time, she has proposed a series of spending cuts and a half cent "temporary" sales tax to help shore up the budget defecit.   Gregoire's proposals have already included a shortened school year for students, elimination of social services for thousands and early release for some prisoners.    While the Connecting Washington Task Force has indentified what they say are a total of 21 billion in needed road and highway improvements,  with the state facing the billion dollar shortfall, critics say this is not the time to be asking voters for more money.    And in an ironic twist, while Gregoire has finally recognized that significant cuts needs to be made in social programs that benefit so few Washintonians,  she is meeting stiff resistance from those in her own party over those social program reduction plans.