Hey buddy, can you spare a billion?

The big headline from the world of sports yesterday was the announcement that former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is buying the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion.

So what does Ballmer get for his money? Twenty professional basketball players with a long-term payroll of $265 million. And oh yeah, what is a described as a lousy lease at the Staples Center.

In contrast, you could take the same $2 billion and complete State Route 167.

Not only would you get a permanent (non-leased) asset, but you would also fuel long-term job growth to the tune of 80,000 jobs and $10 billion in salaries.

And you would create 948 direct construction jobs per year of construction.

And you would generate an economic benefit of saved travel time of $940 million.

AND you would still have $500 million left over which you could put into other freight mobility projects that support the Washington economy.

We're not criticizing Ballmer's decision. After all, it is his money.

But if the state wants to think about how it can get a healthy return on its investments, it might want to think about completing SR 167.