(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash), Chairman of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, today announced that the Senate Supplemental Appropriations bill will include over $451 million dollars in emergency relief for the repair and reconstruction of roads and bridges that have been damaged by unexpected catastrophes across the country. Washington state will receive over $64 million to help rebuild roads damaged in December's devastating floods – as well as to continue to repair infrastructure damage incurred in the floods of November 2006.
"These emergency highway dollars are critical to helping Washington state communities rebuild after recent floods," Senator Murray said. "If we can spend $10 billion a month for the war in Iraq, we should be willing to spend a fraction of that to invest in the recovery of communities here at home."
"Washed-out roads have hurt commerce, disrupted families and endangered safety from Southwest Washington to Whatcom County and everywhere in between. It is the responsibility of the federal government to help these communities get back on their feet – and one of the best ways to do that is to help rebuild critical transportation infrastructure," Murray said.
The $451 million in emergency Supplemental funding is being targeted toward the rebuilding of roads and bridges damaged in recent disasters. The funding provided will cover a backlog of 41 separate incidents from 21 states for roads and bridges that were damaged or destroyed in declared disaster areas, including repairs in Washington state.
The Senate supplemental bill must still be approved by the Appropriations Committee and the full Senate before it is reconciled with the House version. President Bush has threatened to veto funding for emergencies unrelated to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"The President has asked for over $700 million for roads in Iraq and Afghanistan in his Supplemental request. Congress needs to be looking out for the needs of our communities here at home," Murray said. "Communities across our state and nation have been hit by disaster and Americans are hurting today. There is no better place to take care of these pressing needs than in this emergency supplemental bill."
The $451 million supports the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Emergency Relief funding requests. Washington state has requested the following funding which is pending with FHWA
- $11,080,000 for road construction for the November 2006 floods
Affected Counties: Chelan, Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, Klickitat, Kitsap, Kittitas, King, Lewis, Mason, Okanogan, Pacific, Pierce, San Juan, Skamania, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Whatcom, and Yakima.
- $44,800,000 for repair and reconstruction for the December 2007 floods
Affected Counties: Benton, Chelan, Clallam, Cowlitz, Franklin, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston, Walla Walla Wahkiakum, Whatcom, and Yakima.
And for storm damaged National Park and Forest Roads:
- $6,772,176 for 2006 storms
Affecting roads in the Gifford Pinchot, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie, Okanogan-Wenatchee and Olympic National Forests
- $1.4 million for 2007 storms
Affecting roads in the Olympic National Forest and Olympic National Park.