(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -Senator Patty Murray has successfully protected important federal funding for many of Washington state's priorities in the final House-Senate compromise on the Omnibus Appropriations bill.
The conference report is the final step in the year-long appropriations process. The measure is expected to pass the House later today and the Senate tonight or tomorrow, before going to the President to become law.
Working with her Republican counterparts on the Senate and House Appropriations Committees, Murray retained the funding levels for Washington state projects that she had previously secured in the Senate's fiscal year (FY) 2003 Appropriations bill.
Given that the FY 2003 bill was cut dramatically by the new majority from what Senate Appropriators had passed last year, Murray's success in delivering for the state is especially noteworthy.
"In the face of significant cuts, I am pleased to have maintained this critical federal funding for our state's urgent transportation, health care, and education needs," Senator Murray said. "I know this increased federal support will make a real difference for families and communities in our region. We must do all that we can to keep jobs and businesses in Washington state," Murray continued.
TRANSPORTATION EARMARKS FOR SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON:
Small Bus System Grant- Pacific Transit ($96,000)
This funding will replace two 25-foot buses. Replacing these vehicles with new models is critical to reducing emissions and pollutants and increasing safety.
Cowlitz/Whakiakum Counties, Lexington Bridge Project ($6 million)
This funding will help construct a bridge that crosses the Cowlitz River between Interstate 5 at milepost 42 and the Sparks Drive/State Route 411 (SR 411) intersection in the Lexington area that is north of the cities of Kelso and Longview.
I-5, Rush Road to Maytown Widening ($1 million)
This earmark was in the House bill. Murray helped protect the funding during conference.
TRANSPORTATION EARMARKS FOR CLARK COUNTY:
SW 1st/NW Lake Road Project ($ 3 million)
This project will help the City of Camas begin planning to expand and improve this roadway.
C-Tran, Vancouver Mall Transit Center ($2.6 million)
This project will help purchase and upgrade the existing site to reduce annual maintenance costs to ensure future operations.
Mill Plain Boulevard at I-205 ($3 million)
This funding will support improvements to the interchange and the portion of I-205 between the Columbia River and NE 83rd Street. These renovations are expected to relieve congestion.
Maritime Fire and Safety Association ($312,000)
This funding will help support the Marine Fire and Safety Association (MFSA), which provides critical fire, oil and toxic spill response and clean-up capability in the Lower Columbia River.
OTHER EARMARKS FOR SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON
Columbia Gorge Air Quality Study ($675,000)
This grant will provide funding for a $1.8 million study on air quality in the Columbia Gorge, which is being degraded by regional haze, acid rain and ground-level ozone. In August of 2001, the Columbia River Gorge Commission unanimously approved the plan for the study, which includes conducting air quality monitoring, developing an emissions inventory, conducting air quality modeling, and performing final analysis.
Klickitat County PUD New Sewage Treatment Plant ($1,485,000)
The requested funds will allow the PUD to replace a 46 year old treatment plant while maintaining affordable sewer rates for town residents, protecting the Klickitat Wild and Scenic River, and providing a vital part of the infrastructure needed for economic development. Without this funding, residents' sewer rates will triple to approximately $95 per month. Klickitat County has the highest unemployment rate in the state at 17.1 percent unemployment, and many residents have low incomes.
Willapa National Wildlife Refuge ($1 million)
The funds of be used to fight an infestation of Spartina grass. The refuge will also receive $750,000 to acquire additional lands for the Refuge.
Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups ($1.4 million)
These funds will support volunteer salmon enhancement programs.
Shoalwater Bay Shoreline Erosion ($700,000)
The project is attempting to address the alarming rate of shoreline erosion occurring in the bay.
Forest Service Acquisition of Lands in the Columbia Gorge ($5 million)
These funds will acquire lands from willing sellers within the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area.
Fish and Wildlife Service acquisition of land near the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge ($750,000)
To protect areas of unique old-growth forest, freshwater streams, river and tidal habitats that provide refuge for breeding and migrating waterfowl and shorebirds, contributing to the recovery of endangered species.
The Rural Technology Transfer Initiative ($600,000)
These funds will help continue to help small landowners use up-to-date technology to maximize timber harvest while protecting important habitat.
Shellfish Research (Newport, Oregon) ($250,000)
Senator Murray worked to secure an additional $250,000 for shellfish research at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon. With the additional funding, USDA will expand its research program to address genetics and marine ecology issues affecting shellfish growers.
Washington State Methamphetamine Program ($3 million)
These funds will allow cities and counties to continue to work to fight the proliferation of "meth" labs across the state. Washington state is currently has the second highest number of meth labs in the country. This program relies on an integrated system involving state and local governments, non-profits and commercial entities to combat this problem.
Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund $28 million ($90 million total)
These funds are used for habitat restoration and other programs to restore endangered and listed salmon runs in WA, OR, CA, and AK. The $90 million includes, $28 million for WA, $9 million for coastal tribes and $3 million for Columbia River tribes to participate in these efforts.
Pacific Salmon Treaty ($40 million)
These funds are the final payment needed to for the federal government to fulfill its international responsibilities under the Pacific Salmon Treaty. The $40 million provides $25 million to capitalize the Northern Boundary Restoration and Enhancement Fund and $15 million to capitalize the Southern Boundary Fund. This is the final year that appropriations will be needed to fully implement the Treaty.
Groundfish Buy-Back Disaster Funds ($10 million)
The Omnibus includes authorization language necessary to allow a $50 million West Coast Groundfish buy-back program to proceed quickly. There are currently too many vessels fishing for severely depressed groundfish stocks, and this program will allow fishers who want to leave the fishery to receive compensation for their permits and vessels. The bill also includes $10 million in federal emergency assistance to reduce the loan burden on those fishers who choose to remain in the fishery.
Cowlitz County Emergency Response Radio System ($350,000)
These funds will be used to replace Cowlitz County's Emergency Response Radio system. The Cowlitz County Emergency Radio Response system is used to ensure public safety response, emergency communications, and homeland security for the residents and emergency responders in Cowlitz County. Portions of the current warning system are more than twenty-five years old and are at risk of failing without warning.