(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that she has included $3,756,000 for transportation and community development projects in the Fiscal Year 2009 Senate Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill. As Chairman of the THUD Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Murray uses her position to invest in community-backed Washington state projects that may not otherwise receive federal support.
"This bill makes targeted investments in projects that will promote economic growth, support affordable housing efforts, and improve the overall quality of life in Spokane. With gas prices at record-highs, local governments strapped for cash, and economic growth being threatened, communities need a boost from the federal government. I'm proud to work to return Eastern Washington families' federal tax dollars to projects in their own backyard."
The THUD Appropriations bill was approved in Senator Murray's THUD Committee on Tuesday and was approved by the full Appropriations Committee today. It now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
The following projects were included in the bill in the Eastern Washington region:
University Place Pedestrian Safety Overpass, City of Spokane: $500,000
This project is a pedestrian and bicycle bridge that will travel through downtown Spokane and connect the University District Riverpoint Campus with housing, commercial and retail venues. In addition to the critical safety improvements this bridge will provide, it will also drive mixed-used residential, retail and commercial development both on campus and in the adjacent neighborhoods south of the campus.
“Providing connectivity between the University District’s education and technology facilities, the neighborhoods south of the railroad, and the hospital and health care delivery complex is key to leveraging hundreds of millions of dollars in university investments at the campus and in other important housing, retail and commercial development for Spokane and this region,” said Mary Verner, Mayor of Spokane.
City of Spokane Homeless Rapid Rehousing Initiative, Spokane: $150,000
Over the last two years, the City of Spokane, housing providers, the business community and concerned citizens have formed a partnership to address the loss of affordable housing in the downtown core and other neighborhoods. The Rapid Rehousing Initiative funding will help ensure the Spokane community has the resources it needs to relocate individuals and families who are losing their housing, thereby preventing homelessness.
Inland Pacific Hub Analysis Project, Spokane Regional Transportation Council: $250,000
Washington State is expected to accommodate an increased amount of international freight in the coming years. This project will determine the economic impact and job creation potential of developing an inland port. The analysis will assess the ability of Spokane to develop an intelligent transportation hub that would attract more global commerce in the region. It will also create a plan to coordinate with regional partners.
YWCA of Spokane, Spokane: $500,000
The project will help fund the creation of a Unified Youth Development Programming facility which will be located in a neighborhood where the nearest elementary school currently reports 73% of students receive free or reduced lunches. Demand for services is growing, particularly from lower income populations seeking child-care, domestic violence and homeless family services, skill development, and a safe place for teens to spend time.
“Spokane now has the opportunity to put resources into nourishing and protecting our children’s potential,” said Monica Walter, Executive Director, YWCA of Spokane.
Northeast Community Center Expansion Project, Spokane: $500,000
Funds will help implement the third phase of the Center’s expansion to include Partners for Families and Children. This new partner provides child abuse medical treatment, prevention education, and substance abuse counseling for parents. This addresses a critical issue in Northeast Spokane, the area with the highest percentages of Child Protection Service referrals of any zip code in the multi-county region served.
Pullman Transit Vehicle Replacement, Pullman, Whitman County: $1,356,000
This funding will enable Pullman Transit to replace five of its oldest buses with five new low-floor buses. These new buses will allow for the continued reliability of existing service and allow Pullman Transit to transport more riders with only minimal increases in operating costs.
Freight Transportation Policy Institute, Washington State University: $500,000
The overall mission of this freight transportation policy institute is to conduct economic policy analysis useful to policymakers as well as guiding the research efforts in the field. It will be a premier research institute in the Pacific Northwest, focusing on the emerging policy debate associated with energy, infrastructure pricing and economic development. This will be accomplished by developing intellectual capital combined with emerging transportation modeling technologies.