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(Spokane, WA) - Today, Senator Murray visited the Monroe Street Bridge in Spokane and got an update on efforts to modernize the aging bridge.

Murray secured $3 million in the fiscal year 2003 Transportation Appropriations Spending bill to help renovate and repair the Monroe Street Bridge. The Bridge is currently unstable and fails to meet seismic requirements.

Murray's remarks follow:

Thank you, Mayor Powers.

I’m proud to be here today as Spokane modernizes a critical transportation route and turns a symbol of the past into a symbol of Spokane’s bright future.

Our roads and bridges affect our economy, our productivity and our quality of life.

When we invest in our transportation infrastructure, we reduce congestion, improve safety, and lay the foundation for our future economic growth.

This project means good jobs today and a better economy tomorrow.

So I’m proud to be here to talk about the Monroe Street Bridge Project and the many ways it will help strengthen Spokane.

As you can see, it takes a lot of work to rehabilitate this old bridge, but it is critical work.

This bridge carries about 25,000 vehicles and hundreds of pedestrians every day.

They rely on the bridge to be safe and secure, and that’s asking a lot of a 93-year-old bridge.

Not only is this bridge part of a critical transportation route, but it’s also a symbol of Spokane’s heritage.

Spokane has gone through many changes over the last 100 years, and the Monroe Street Bridge symbolizes that deep history.

Today, we’re showing that Spokane is ready for the future and willing to make the critical investments that will serve this community well for decades to come.

To take on a project this large, you need a lot of partners.

I want to commend the local and state leaders and all of the citizens and organizations who came together to make this possible.

I especially want to thank Mayor Powers. He first brought this project to my attention, and he’s been a steadfast partner in seeing it through.

Using my position on the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, I was proud to help make the federal government a full partner in this effort.

Last year, I included $3 million in the Transportation Appropriations bill for this project.

That’s just part of the $13 million federal contribution to this rehabilitation.

When finished, the Monroe Street Bridge will have another 75 years of service life and will provide a safe, reliable way to travel between the southern and northern parts of Spokane.

This has certainly been a group effort, and at the federal level, I’m proud to be your partner in strengthening Spokane’s future.