(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Subcommittee announced that she has included funding to boost Southwest Washington transportation and economic development in the Fiscal Year 2011 THUD Appropriations bill. The funding will create construction jobs that support community projects, make critical road safety improvements, and improve access to local transit.
The key spending bill passed through the THUD Appropriations Subcommittee today, and will now move to the full Appropriations Committee for consideration.
“Especially now, it is critical to steer funding into transportation projects that create jobs and boost local economies in our own backyard in Southwest Washington,” said Senator Murray. “This funding will go to support community projects like the Columbia River Crossing project and improvements to downtown Longview, and I’m committed to continue securing investments for these and other local needs.”
The following projects were included in the bill for the Southwest Washington region:
Columbia River Crossing - $42,000,000
Washington State Department of Transportation will receive federal funding to
be used for preliminary engineering, final design and right of way for the
Columbia River Crossing project.
This comprehensive project provides livability, sustainability, economic development and freight mobility improvements to Southwest Washington and Northwest Oregon by increasing safety, reducing congestion, improving air quality and increasing transit, bicycle and pedestrian transportation options.
“This project provides an essential link to long-term economic health in Southwest Washington and Northwest Oregon,” said Secretary Paula Hammond. “When the ribbon is cut, we will improve safety for all travelers, reduce congestion on the interstate and in neighborhoods, give people more travel choices and substantially reduce travel time costs for freight.”
C-TRAN Fourth Plain Bus Rapid Transit - $1,500,000
Clark County Public Transportation Benefit Area Authority will receive funding
to support the development of high frequency service between residential and
job centers along the Fourth Plain corridor as well as connections to downtown
Vancouver, and the Vancouver Mall, and will provide interstate transit access
to employment and services in Portland.
The Fourth Plain Bus Rapid Transit project, once
completed, will provide high quality transit service along a major urban
arterial corridor within the City of Vancouver and is a critical element of
enhancing mobility, sustainability, and economic development opportunities
along the corridor to the future.
“This funding will take a significant step toward providing high quality transit service along Vancouver’s Fourth Plain Corridor, thus contributing to a safe, diverse, prosperous, and stable neighborhood,” said Jeff Hamm, C-TRAN Executive Director and CEO.
Downtown Revitalization Project - $1,000,000
The City of Longview will receive funding to support design, engineering and construction of street, sidewalk, lighting and other pedestrian friendly improvements in downtown Longview.
The revitalization effects of this streetscape project are expected to encourage and incentivize investment and job growth in the city’s downtown economic core.
“Economic revitalization and development in downtown Longview is a continuous process, as it is in many communities’ downtowns. We are fortunate to have an organized and supportive business community as a prominent partner in that process. We are so grateful to add Senator Murray to the list of supporters and value her leadership in securing these crucial resources for our downtown redevelopment project,” said Kurt Anagnostou, Mayor of Longview.
Grace Avenue Safety Improvements - $1,000,000
of Battle Ground will receive funding to support the first phase of the
reconstruction of SE Grace Avenue.
SE Grace Avenue connects to East Main Street and provides a vital truck route serving industrial companies located along this route such as Andersen Plastics which currently is the largest private family wage employer in Battle Ground. In addition, SE Grace Avenue is a primary route for citizens to reach the east end of the downtown business district, the new Community Center and Skate/Bike Park recently built by the City, as well as most of the City’s newer retail and industrial land.
“SE Grace Avenue is an essential north/south arterial providing freight access to local industrial companies and a main route for citizens to reach the downtown business district, the Community Center, Fairgrounds Park and our growing retail and industrial area. The current condition of this narrow roadway with no sidewalks and deep ditches discourages travel, and as a result, impairs commerce. Senator Murray’s help in securing funds speaks to her support of economic development and job creation in Battle Ground. Federal dollars for this project will encourage growth of existing businesses and pave the way for new retail and industrial growth,” said Michael Ciraulo, Mayor of Battle Ground.
Interstate 5 Ridgefield Interchange Replacement Project - $1,000,000
of Ridgefield will receive funding to support the construction of a new
interchange to replace the existing Interstate 5/State Route 501 interchange.
The Interstate 5 junction with State Route 501 is recognized as a major industrial and business park hub for the entire Vancouver, Washington/ Portland, Oregon metropolitan region and is the location of the largest remaining undeveloped land parcels in the region zoned for business and industrial use. However, many prospective employers have indicated that they will not pursue construction of businesses until a new interchange with capacity to serve new development is constructed.
“The City of Ridgefield has been identified through the State growth management process as a primary location for employment-related growth in Clark County. An interchange to serve long-term transportation needs is necessary at the present time to foster the economic development of Clark County as well as enhancement of the quality of life for the citizens of Ridgefield,” said Mayor Ron Onslow.
Longview Transit Vehicle Replacements - $650,000
The City of Longview will receive funding to support the purchase of two hybrid transit buses to provide expanded routes and more frequent bus services.
“The citizens of Longview and Kelso demonstrated their commitment to providing quality public transit service by approving a 200% increase in their transit tax during a deep recession when everyone is concerned about their financial well-being. Their commitment to public transit will help our low income residents find and maintain gainful employment, and will help reduce traffic congestion in our community. Utilizing hybrid buses allows us to expand our service while being mindful of minimizing our impact on the environment,” said Kurt Anagnostou, Mayor, City of Longview.
Oil Spill Response Fleet Upgrade and Shipboard Firefighter Training - $500,000
Fire and Safety Administration will receive federal funding that will be used
to repower the MFSA’s oil spill response fleet, upgrade oil spill equipment,
and provide training to MFSA’s firefighting partners in Washington and
This project improves the MFSA’s ability to respond to oil spills and other maritime emergencies that could shut down commerce on the Columbia/Willamette River transportation system and do harm to the region’s economy
“With Senator Murray’s help, the Maritime Fire and Safety Association and our first responder partners will have the tools we need to respond to oil spills and other maritime emergencies that could shut down commerce on the Columbia River and do harm to the region’s economy and environment,” said Liz Wainwright, Executive Director MRSA.
Share Community Service Center - $900,000
Share will receive funding to support the renovation of a facility to provide increased service to the homeless, hungry and low-income populations. Clark County has the highest unemployment rates in Washington State and among the highest for counties throughout much of our nation. This project will provide support to those without jobs, those that have lost their homes or are in threat of losing their housing and those that cannot provide food for their families.
“Share has been a vital part of the solution for the hungry and homeless in Clark County for the past 30 years,” said Diane McWithey, Executive Director of Share. “We are grateful to Senator Patty Murray for recognizing our role in helping those in need in our community. And we thank them for allocating $1,000,000 to renovate the Share Service Center, which will enable Share to provide increased service to the hungry and homeless population during these difficult economic times.”
Southwest Washington Regional Veterans Center - $675,000
The Longview Housing Authority will receive funding to support the purchase and development of a regional veterans' service center in Longview, Washington.
This project will provide the resources necessary to create a one stop resource center for homeless veterans in Southwest Washington. Without cultivating relevant job skills and meaningful employment opportunities homeless veterans are not able to successfully reengage in their respective communities.
“Senator Murray has once again demonstrated her unwavering commitment to Veterans living in rural communities in SW Washington. This funding will provide the crucial first money in that will allow Longview Housing Authority to create a multi-faceted Service Center accessible to all Veterans to provide the opportunities they need to get on with their lives,” said Chris Pegg, Longview Housing Authority.
Vancouver Waterfront Access Improvement Project - $2,000,000
of Vancouver will receive funding to support transportation improvements to
improve access to Vancouver’s Columbia River waterfront.
Once the access is created through this project, private investment on the waterfront is estimated to total $1.3 billion, resulting in significant permanent job creation and bring more employers to southwest Washington.
“The waterfront renaissance project is the pinnacle in the next chapter of downtown Vancouver’s revitalization. The opportunity to connect, and in some ways reconnect, our community to our waterfront is unmatched in terms of size and potential. This project will forever change the face of Vancouver and the state of Washington,” said Tim Leavitt, Mayor of Vancouver.