(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that she has secured funding for Southwest Washington transportation and economic development priorities in the Fiscal Year 2010 Senate Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill. The funding will help strengthen local transit, enhance regional trade routes and provide housing for homeless veterans.
As Chair of the THUD Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Murray has fought to secure federal support for Southwest Washington projects that will create jobs and invest in long-term economic growth.
Waterfront Redevelopment Access Project, Vancouver: $2,000,000
This funding will provide for the construction of road and rail improvements, creating two new rail under-crossings to provide access to the Columbia River waterfront in Vancouver, WA.
Safe and efficient vehicle and pedestrian access to the Vancouver Waterfront is estimated to generate $1.3 billion in private economic investment in the area, providing thousands of new professional, retail and service job opportunities for the greater Vancouver area.
“The funds will help revitalize the Vancouver waterfront, which is critical for the future of downtown Vancouver,” said Senator Patty Murray. “These investments will create jobs immediately, and they will lay down the foundation for long-term economic growth in the region.”
“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 Mayor Royce Pollard.
The key spending bill passed through the THUD Subcommittee today, and will now move to the full Appropriations Committee for consideration.
The following additional projects were included in the bill for the Southwest Washington region:
I-5 Columbia River Crossing , Clark County: $2,000,000
This funding will provide for the completion of the Environmental Impact Statement and design for the Interstate 5 Columbia River Crossing project.
Completion of the Environmental Impact Statement and design of the I-5 Columbia River Crossing project will expedite a much needed transportation solution that, once completed, will reduce traffic congestion, improve freight movement, and increase safety on I-5.
Pioneer Street Rail Overpass Safety Improvement Project, Ridgefield: $1,000,000
This funding will provide for the design and engineering of the Ridgefield Rail Overpass project, extending Pioneer Street across the BNSF main line tracks in downtown Ridgefield, WA.
The completion of this project will improve access to the waterfront and Port property, enable retail development, and greatly enhance safety by eliminating the dangerous railroad crossings that currently take place.
“Increasing freight mobility in Ridgefield will not only promote redevelopment and employment at the port, but will also preserve and promote job growth and economic development in the entire Portland/Vancouver metro area,” said Joe Melroy, Port Commissioner.
Homeless Veterans Housing and Service Center Project, Longview: $500,000
This funding will provide for the rehabilitation of an historic building in downtown Longview, WA into a veterans housing and service center.
This project will provide approximately 20 homeless Cowlitz veterans with transitional housing and services. Cowlitz County has traditionally had one of the highest unemployment rates in Washington state, making the transition back to civilian life more difficult than usual for returning veterans.
“The Longview Housing Authority is grateful to Senator Murray for her leadership in securing crucial funds for the Homeless Veterans Housing and Service Center Project,” said Chris Pegg, Executive Director of the Longview Housing Authority. This Housing and Service Center provides the best opportunity possible to provide our selfless war veterans with the support they need to realize their highest potential. Our veterans deserve nothing less.”
Growing Places Ag and Alternative Energy Incubator and Training Center, Centralia: $500,000
This funding will provide for the construction of a facility and related infrastructure for agricultural and alternative energy vocational mentoring program in Centralia, WA.
The completion of this facility will provide Growing Places Farm & Energy Park the ability to provide young people from the surrounding rural community teen employment opportunities, apprenticeship, mentoring and career pathway counseling in the fields of agriculture and new energy development.
Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Washington, Vancouver: $1,000,000
This funding will provide for the remodeling and new construction for expansion of the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Washington’s Jim Parsley Community Center in Vancouver, WA.
This project will allow the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Washington to expand high-quality, constructive after school programs for school-age youth in central Vancouver, an area with at least 16% of the population living below the poverty line where no other daily, low-cost youth facilities exist.
“We appreciate Senator Patty Murray’s support of Southwest Washington and her acknowledgement of the need for affordable after-school programs for at-risk youth. This project will positively impact many youth and their families in our community,” said Ron Prill, President of the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington.
West Freight Access Project, Vancouver: $3,000,000
This funding will be used to construct new rail access lines in and around Port of Vancouver facilities and connect them to a newly constructed terminal.
In addition to the creation of approximately 1,900 construction related jobs, this project will significantly expand rail services to existing Port tenants and customers who support over 15,580 jobs in the area and provide increased capacity and velocity to a major choke point on the west end of the Port.
“Completion of the West Vancouver Freight Access Project is critical to the future economic growth of the South West Washington region. Thousands of jobs and substantial economic benefits are associated with the project. Again Senator Murray has shown she understands the needs of our state and this region and has helped secure the funding required to get this important freight mobility and economic development project completed,” said Larry Paulson, Executive Director of the Port of Vancouver.
C-TRAN Transit Vehicle Replacement, Clark County, $1,900,000
In order to provide comprehensive public transit services to Clark County, enhancing access to local businesses and decreasing regional congestion, C-TRAN must modernize its fleet of buses. A new, modernized, more environmentally friendly fleet of buses will decrease the impact on the environment and increase C-TRAN's efficiency by reducing maintenance costs and time delays.
This funding will be used to replace 12 C-TRAN buses, six of which will be used to assistant special needs customers throughout Clark County.
“Thanks to Senator Murray’s efforts, C-TRAN will continue replacing its oldest buses with new bus technologies that makes public transit in Clark County more reliable and environmentally friendly,” said Jeff Hamm, C-TRAN Executive Director and CEO.
C-Tran High Capacity Transit – Alternatives Analysis, Clark County: $1,750,000
This funding will provide for a High Capacity Transit (HCT) Alternatives Analysis, which will explore various engineering options for an HCT project in Clark County.
The level of congestion on the roads of Clark County is matching the rapid population growth seen in the region. High Capacity Transit would significantly decrease vehicular traffic in the region, increasing road safety and allowing for further economic development, and this alternatives analysis will allow C-TRAN and the community to identify which corridor and type of transit would be most beneficial.