(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that she has included millions in funding for transportation, housing, and community development projects in Central Washington in critical yearly spending legislation. The funding is included in the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which provides funding for most federal government programs and targeted community projects for Fiscal Year 2009. The Omnibus bill is separate from the Economic Recovery bill passed by Congress and enacted by Barack Obama last week. As Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Subcommittee, Senator Murray helped to include millions for important projects and programs in Yakima and Central Washington in the Omnibus bill.
"We are investing in Main Street again," said Senator Murray. "In the face of a deepening recession, this bill puts federal funding back into our communities where it can create and save jobs and address local needs. This funding will improve public transportation, help keep families in their homes, and provide a hand for struggling families in Central Washington. I'm proud to work to return Central Washington taxpayer dollars to projects in their own backyard."
The 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill will fund projects for the remainder of the 2009 Fiscal Year which runs until September 30th, 2009. The federal government is currently operating under spending levels passed for Fiscal Year 2008 because President Bush refused to sign many 2009 spending bills last year and Congress was forced to pass a continuing resolution. The 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill was unveiled today and is expected to be passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in the coming weeks.
The following projects were included in the bill in the Central Washington region:
YWCA Domestic Violence Center, Yakima: $950,000
This project will increase the number of overall homeless housing units in Yakima in response to the rise in homelessness due to domestic violence. Funding will also go towards other facility improvements including the addition of handicap accessible ramps and a new exit stairway that will bring the building up to code.
Charities Hispanic Homeownership Public Education Campaign, Yakima County: $760,000
Working in collaboration, the Self Reliance Foundation (SRF) and Hispanic Communications Network (HCN) and Catholic Charities Housing Services of Yakima Valley (CCHS) will conduct a Spanish-language Hispanic homeownership public awareness and education media campaign, focusing on CCHS's homeownership program. The campaign will also provide critical information on local resources that residents can utilize to mitigate foreclosure as well as to plan for and successfully purchase a home. Project funding will also strengthen and expand CCHS's homeownership and education services.
City Hall and Community Center Rehabilitation Project, Roslyn: $798,000
This project will provide structural upgrades and other improvements to Roslyn's 100-year old primary public facility so it can continue to serve the region as a civic, cultural and community center. The center serves as library, civic center, public meeting hall, home of the community's public internet lab, senior and youth center, and home to various studio and performance art presentations.
"Roslyn's Old City Hall and Library is the heart of our community – in addition to serving as the regional library for Upper Kittitas County, this 106-year old building serves as our community hall, civic center and cultural facility," said Roslyn Mayor Jeri Porter. "Saving this historic landmark connects us to Roslyn's past, and represents an investment in our community's future."
Grant Transit Vehicle Replacement, Grant County: $425,600
This funding will enable the purchase of two 30' buses to replace aged vehicles. These new vehicles will allow Grant Transit to continue providing critical regional rural bus services to meet rural and intercity mobility needs, including those of the elderly and disabled, and people needing access to basic services and job centers.
"This acquisition will allow Grant Transit Authority to continue meeting the fixed-route transportation needs for the citizens of Grant County who depend on public transportation to maintain an independent lifestyle," said Kathy Bohnet, Grant Transit Authority Board Chair.
Kittitas Highway Safety and Roadway Improvements, Kittitas County: $332, 500
Kittitas Highway connects the cities of Ellensburg and Kittitas in a high growth area, experiencing a high number of accidents due to the traffic and cross traffic through this narrow corridor. The Kittitas Highway Safety Improvements will reduce accidents and provide a safer corridor by providing turn lanes at intersections, pullouts to provide room for law enforcement and slow moving vehicles to pull off the road, widening the pavement, and providing adequate safety clear zones. These improvements will also reduce traffic congestion at high volume intersections, improve freight mobility for farm to market trucks, provide a bicycle lane for bicyclists, and preserve the road’s pavement and structure.
Valley Mall Boulevard Improvement, Union Gap: $570,000
The Valley Mall Boulevard is a regionally significant project that will help increase economic development and ease the flow of traffic in the Yakima region. Union Gap has experienced substantial commercial growth in recent years, putting a strain on the Valley Mall Boulevard Interchange. Currently, the intersections at the ramp terminals experience severe congestion and air quality concerns during peak hours. By improving the connection to the interchange, this project will improve traffic flow and eliminate chokepoints.
Granger Community Center Construction, Granger: $285,000
This project will fund construction of a new community center to replace the current facility which is over 100 years old. The center will provide a wide range of services to all community members with a focus on resources for Spanish speaking residents in Granger and the surrounding communities. Services include ESL classes, HIV/AIDS education, consumer credit counseling, and counseling for victims of domestic violence.
"The Granger Community Service Center will be an important point of reference and service for the farm workers, immigrant communities in the Yakima Valley; it will promote the economic development and recovery for the City of Granger," said Jorge Lobos, Northwest Communities Education Center Board Chairperson.