News Releases

Murray Secures Critical Funding for Northwest Washington Priorities in Omnibus Conference Report

Feb 13 2003

Final bill to get House vote today, Senate vote tonight/tomorrow

(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 NORTHWEST WASHINGTON

Friday Harbor Ferry Terminal Preservation ($2 million) This project will replace old, environmentally harmful, creosote treated timber pile dolphins and wing-walls with concrete and steel technology. The new steel pipe pile technology has proven to be far more durable and has documented history of reducing terminal slip casualties in the event of a hard landing.

I-5, SR 542 - Widening Sunset Drive Orleans to Britton Road ($2 million) These funds will be used to design and widen Sunset Drive, and overcrowded rural, two-lane highway in Bellingham

Central Avenue Pedestrian Corridor-Prospect Street to the Waterfront ($250,000) This funding will help complete the final phase of the Pedestrian Corridor by Supporting efforts to connect the Hillclimb and Amphitheater to the Civic Center.

Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor Rail Safety Improvement Projects ($1 million) This project will improve the high speed rail linking Eugene, Oregon, Portland, Seattle, Washington, and British Columbia.

Seattle-Everett Rail Corridor Study ($750,000) Funding to conduct a study of track capacity and utilization by freight, commuter and intercity rail services in the Seattle-Everett Rail Corridor and the environmental challenges that would accompany expansion of that track capacity. Will help bring Sounder Commuter Rail North as soon as possible.

Small Bus Systems Grant - Island Transit ($288,000) This funding will help replace 18 Island Transit vanpool vans.

Mount Vernon Multi-Modal Facility ($2 million) This project will upgrade the current multi-modal facility to alleviate congestion.

Cattle Point Road ($350,000) Unrelenting erosion threatens the portion of Cattle Point road that rests on an unstable bluff of sand and gravel and it is estimated that in 5-10 years the sea will claim the cliff on which the road now runs. The former owner deeded this road to the county, before the surrounding land was acquired by San Juan County National Historical Park. Currently San Juan County is working on an Environmental Impact Statement. This project will assist the county in their efforts.

Paine Field Air Traffic Control Improvements ($925,000) Makes improvements to Paine Field's air traffic control system.

Friday Harbor Ferry Terminal Preservation ($2 million) This project will replace old, environmentally harmful, creosote treated timber pile dolphins and wing-walls with concrete and steel technology. The new steel pipe pile technology has proven to be far more durable and has documented history of reducing terminal slip casualties in the event of a hard landing.

BIA Route 13/Route 1, Makah Indian Tribe ($5.4 million) This funding will allow the 4.3 mile road from the Tribal Center to Cape Flattery to be paved, including bike and pedestrian lanes. Good roads are crucial to allowing increased tourism to take place in this beautiful area.

Granite Falls Alternate Route Project ($750,000) This earmark was in the House bill. Murray helped protect the funding during conference.

Whatcom County, Cascade Gateway Project ($750,000) This earmark was in the House bill. Murray helped protect the funding during conference.

OTHER EARMARKS FOR NORTHWEST WASHINGTON

Northern Border Agents $57.2 million increase for Border Patrol Agents This increase will allow INS to create 570 more positions for new Border Patrol Agents, bringing the total number to 11,000.

Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups $1.4 million These funds will support volunteer salmon enhancement programs.

Organic Crop Research ($125,000) The Washington State University Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources is developing a comprehensive organic farming research and education program to assist Washington state's organic producers. The Center will address project areas that are not covered by competitive grants, including: development of certified organic experimental land; organic seed protection and production technology; integrating nutrient management, water management, and pest control; organic weed control methods; and effect of production practices on food quality. The project will benefit consumers, the environment, and both organic and conventional farmers.

Whatcom County Multi-Jurisdictional Criminal Justice Data Integration Project ($1 million) This will enable Whatcom County law enforcement officials to share data and information with appropriate justice agencies within the country and across the state.

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.

Lummi Tribe, Semiahmah Memorial and Coast Salish Heritage Park ($90,000) The Tribe will use the funding to complete initial plans and begin implementing development of the Semiahmah Memorial and the Coast Salish Heritage Park. During expansion of the City of Blaine's wastewater treatment facility, a tribal burial ground was desecrated and human remains transported across state lines. The Lummi Tribe and other local partners are now working together to restore and enhance the tribal burial grounds.

Northwest Straits Commission ($795,000) Senator Murray created the Northwest Straits Commission with legislation in 1998 in response to growing concerns about the declining health of marine ecosystems in the Northwest region of the state. This grassroots effort involves representatives from county, tribal, state and federal governments, non-profit organizations and volunteers who are working together to protect and restore marine resources in northern Puget Sound.

Island County - Deer Lagoon ($600,000) This funding will allow Island County to purchase the 379-acre Deer Lagoon property on Whidbey Island. The appropriation will fund the purchase of undeveloped wetland property which provides habitat for wildlife, including 170 species of resident and migratory birds. Island County plans to protect the land and create a park for public enjoyment and recreation.

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.

City of Blaine Wastewater Plant ($225,000) These funds will be used to assist the City of Blaine in planning a new waste water treatment plant for the region. Senator Murray supported in conference committee the $250,000 that was included in the House bill for this project.

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.

Elwha River Restoration $21.7 million These funds will help continue the restoration of the Elwha River, the largest construction project under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. This project presents a tremendous opportunity to restore a declining salmon run without impacting the local economy.

Pacific Salmon Treaty ($40 million) These funds are the final payment needed to for the federal government to fullfill 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.

BIA Route 13/Route 1, Makah Indian Tribe ($5.4 million) This funding will allow the 4.3 mile road from the Tribal Center to Cape Flattery to be paved, including bike and pedestrian lanes.