(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 either 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."
TRANSPORTATION EARMARKS FOR EASTERN WASHINGTON:
Spokane International Airport ($4 million)
Spokane International Airport will receive $4 million for improvements to taxiway "G" at the airport. Sen. Murray helped secure this critical funding as a conferee to the House-Senate conference.
US 395, N. Spokane Corridor (Spokane) ($4 million)
The North Spokane Corridor project will create a 10.4 mile link between I-90, US 2 and US 395. The project will help relieve congestion in the city, reduce emissions, save fuel and minimize accidents in the area. The project also includes pedestrian/bicycle trails, high-occupancy vehicle lanes and park and ride lots.
Spokane Transit (Spokane) ($2.5 million)
This funding will help provide an additional facility for paratransit vehicles that can't currently be housed in Spokane Transit's existing structures.
Monroe Street Bridge Rehabilitation (Spokane) ($3 million)
The funding will help renovate and repair the Monroe Street Bridge. The Bridge is currently unstable and fails to meet seismic requirements.
I-182/SR-240 Interchange Reconstruction (Spokane) ($3 million)
The project will provide improvements on SR 240 adjacent to the widened Yakima River Bridge to ultimately allow use of all lanes on the bridge. Between Richland and the Yakima River Bridge, an overpass over I-82 will be widened, on and off ramps will be widened to the width of the modified bridge.
US Highway 12, Burbank to Walla Wall (Walla Walla) ($4.4 million)
US Highway 12, from Burbank to Walla Walla is a heavily traveled two-lane highway with average daily traffic counts up to 12,000 vehicles per day, with nearly a third of it being freight trucks. This money will help fund Phase II of this multi-phase project. Specifically, it will build a railroad bridge over the highway to allow for the building of a four-lane highway.
Small Bus Systems Grant - Pullman Transit (Pullman) ($1.18 million)
Replace five 35-foot buses. Replacing these vehicles with new models is critical to reducing emissions and pollutants and increasing safety.
Port of Garfield Road and Bridge Project (Garfield County) ($500,000)
The project will create a new access road and bridge that would join Highway 12 to the Port of Garfield's industrial site. The project will give the port the opportunity to develop the only industrial site in Garfield County, and help diversify the county's economic base. The project will also help ease commercial truck traffic through residential areas. This funding will complete the project.
US-395 Columbia River Bridge Traffic Operations ($250,000) This earmark was in the House bill. Murray helped protect the funding during conference.
OTHER EARMARKS FOR EASTERN WASHINGTON
Klickitat County PUD New Sewage Treatment Plant (Klickitat) $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.
Richland Water Main Replacement (Richland) $522,000
These funds will help the City to replace leaking water pipes that the federal government first constructed in the 1940s and 1950s. The intended life of the water mains was originally only 10 years. As recently as 1995, the City was losing up to 40 percent of its water because of the faulty pipes. The City of Richland has already invested more than $20 million over the past two decades to replace 54 miles of pipe. This grant will help the City to replace the remaining 16 miles of water mains, which it hopes to do by 2005.
Regional Fisheries Enhancement Group $1.4 million
These funds will support volunteer salmon enhancement programs.
Bureau of Land Management $1 million
The funds will support the acquisition of lands in the Moses Coulee area.
Transitions Women's Drop In Center (Spokane) ($225,000)
Transitions' Women's Drop In Center will use the funding to purchase a new building for the Women's Drop In Center. The Center provides critical services to more than 250 homeless and low-income women each month.
Columbia Basin Groundwater Management Area Project ($180,000)
The Columbia Basin Ground Water Management Area Project develops and implements locally driven solutions to improve ground water quality in areas of documented nitrate pollution in Franklin, Grant and Adams County.
Gonzaga's Inland Northwest Natural Resources Research Center (Spokane) ($500,000)
The center will use these funds to focus on the development of natural resources while maintaining sound stewardship of the environment. This is the third year of funding for the Center that Senator Murray has secured through her seat on the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee bringing the total to $3.2 million.
Walla Walla Watershed ($650,000)
The project is a joint effort by farmers, irrigators, tribes, environmentalists, and the Corps of Engineers to increase flows in the Walla Walla river while maintaining water for irrigation needs.
Walla Walla Watershed Alliance ($500,000)
The Walla Walla Watershed Alliance is a local grassroots organization that includes the irrigation district, farmers, and other stakeholders. With the funding, the Alliance will work with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to develop a comprehensive irrigation management plan and to demonstrate model farm practices to increase flows in the Walla Walla river while maintaining water for irrigation needs.
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.
Protecting Washington State Tree Fruit from Viruses (Prosser) ($250,000)
The NRSP-5 facility at Washington State University's Irrigated Agriculture and Extension Center in Prosser, Washington, is responsible for obtaining and distributing virus-free deciduous tree fruit material to farmers. Rapid foreign and domestic exchange of varieties is essential for the continued economic vitality of the U.S. tree fruit and nursery industries. The facility will use the funding to implement new technologies for more rapid and dependable methods of pathogen detection and to provide secure production and maintenance of virus-free fruit tree cultivars.
ural Community Assessments ($90,000)
The Washington State Rural Development Council will use the funding to help rural communities assess strengths and weaknesses, develop strategies to meet their economic, community, and human service goals, and link them to resources to build on and implement local plans. The Town of Quincy, Washington and the surrounding region recently went through the community assessment process. It was a huge success and this funding will help the council to reach out to many more rural communities.
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.
Protecting and Enhancing Washington's Wine Industry ($850,000)
The omnibus appropriations bill includes an $850,000 increase for viticulture research in the Pacific Northwest. The increase includes $150,000 to develop a clean "motherblock" for the Washington wine industry. As the industry grows, it needs a disease and virus-free "motherblock" of plant material. The industry has grown so rapidly that there are growing concerns that farmers are planting grapevine that may contain viruses that could devastate the industry. One of the strengths of our industry is that our rootstock is clean. The research dollars secured will help to build a new, clean rootstock for distribution to existing and new growers. This research will take place at Prosser. The bill also includes $400,000 for the Northwest Center for Small Fruits Research for viticulture research. $200,000 will go directly for research at the center. The other $200,000 will be awarded competitively for collaborative research between WSU, Oregon State University and the University of Idaho.
Washington State University, Pullman ($100,000)
These funds will support the Plateau Center for American Indian Studies and related activities. The Plateau Center will work with tribal representatives to upgrade the university's curricular programs and its collections of artifacts and documents pertaining to the Plateau tribes. This will help facilitate the successful transition of American Indian students from tribal schools and colleges to WSU's undergraduate and graduate programs, and to promote the scholarly study of the Plateau cultures with the active participation of tribal members.
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 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.