(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray, the highest ranking Democrat on the Senate Transportation, Treasury, and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, today announced she has secured millions of dollars in federal funding for Washington’s transportation priorities, a strong start to a slightly revised funding process. The money Murray secured will address critical infrastructure needs throughout the region, including roads, buses, trails and transit facilities. In addition, the money will help to create and maintain quality, good paying jobs around Washington state.
“By investing in our transportation infrastructure, we are creating good-paying construction jobs today and paving the way for future economic growth,” Senator Murray said. “Our state is facing tough challenges and these dollars will help improve our quality of life and increase economic prosperity.”
In past years, specific transportation projects were earmarked when the bill was marked up at the subcommittee level. This year, however, Senate leaders decided in advance to put off most of the earmarks until later in the process due to current uncertainty with the authorization bill that provides the parameters of the programs that are funded. Despite this change in procedure, Murray was successful in securing millions in funding at this early point in the appropriations process. Murray will have additional opportunities to secure federal resources for Washington state as the bill moves through the process.
The Washington state funding included by Murray is in addition to the formula funding the state receives annually from the federal government. In fiscal year 2005, the state will receive more than $600 million in Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration grants.
Senator Murray also worked to increase funding for Amtrak, to $1.217 billion. The President requested and the House approved $900 million for Amtrak, which the railroad said would put them in bankruptcy. Furthermore, Senator Murray fought to include increased war risk insurance coverage for airlines and aircraft manufactures, like Boeing. War risk insurance premiums have increased dramatically since 9/11, and would likely not even be available without federal protection.
A detailed list of the projects and funding levels follows:
Global Communications, Navigation, and Surveillance System (Boeing) -- $20 million
Boeing has been selected by the FAA to develop the next-generation air traffic control system. This satellite-based approach will make air traffic management safer, more secure and more efficient. This is the third year Murray has secured funding for a new ATM system. Murray secured $25 million in FY 2002 and $20 million in FY 2004. That funding went to the FAA, which independently awarded the contract to Boeing after a competition. On April 16, 2004, Murray toured Boeing’s Longacres facility in Tukwila and met the workers who are building this new, innovative system. This funding means continued quality jobs for Washington state workers and more hi-tech work for the Tukwila facility.
Puget Sound In-vehicle Traffic Map Expansion Initiative, Washington -- $2 million
Traffic sensor networks like the one installed in the Puget Sound region by WSDOT represents one of the most promising tools for reducing traffic congestion in major metropolitan areas. This funding will help expand a technology initiative that gives drivers real-time traffic information in their cars – helping reduce congestion. This project is already underway from Tacoma to Seattle. The new funding will expand the system of coverage to include I-5 from Everett to Tacoma, as well as Hwy. 99 and sections of Hwy. 16, Hwy. 18 and Hwy. 167.
Pacific Northwest Freight Mobility Program, Washington State University and the University of Washington -- $500,000
This funding will help create a freight mobility program at Washington State University and the University of Washington. The program will study and promote freight mobility in the Pacific Northwest trade corridor, offering new tools and ideas to keep freight moving quickly for jobs and economic growth.
Western Washington University Border Research Institute -- $1 million
The $1 million in FY 2005 will help establish a multi-disciplinary policy research institute at Western Washington University to develop needed information regarding transportation, mobility and border security issues for the northern corridor. WWU is at the northern terminus of the I-5 corridor and is uniquely situated for this project.
SeaTac Air Traffic Control Tower -- $1.3 million
Senator Murray helped dedicated the new air traffic control tower at SeaTac on May 24, 2004. This tower will help provide safe and secure travel, commerce and economic development throughout our state. To date, Senator Murray has secured more than $76 million for this new tower. This funding is the last installment of funding.
Other SeaTac Funding: $209,107 for Air Traffic Control positions and $25.5 million for the FY 2005 LOI allocation for capital projects.
Olympia Air Traffic Control Tower -- $510,772
These funds will be used to upgrade and improve air traffic control systems at the Olympia Airport.
Automated Technical Support System (Dimension4 in Seattle) -- $3 million
These funds will be used to develop a pilot to design, build and test an automated solution with capabilities for response and decision support following a failure on short range radar systems focusing on complex schematic diagrams. The pilot will provide technical manual system using existing commercial applications packaged in a solution with key components for primary troubleshooting and information retrieval.
University of Washington Advanced Materials Research -- $500,000
Composite materials are increasingly being used in military and commercial aircraft to improve capability, durability and reliability. This project will help found and establish a Center that will help do R&D on advanced materials in aerospace and aviation. Senator Murray provided $500,000 in FY 2004 for this project.
Mobile Object Technology (Topia Ventures in Tacoma) -- $3 million
This funding will help further a pilot that illustrates how Topia Mobile Object technology, Kolona, and its uses in the current complex network environments like the National Air Space System (NAS) and System Wide Information Management (SWIM). Kolona primarily allows different aviation systems for security and for safety to interact effectively with one another. Senator Murray provided $3 million in FY 2003 to start this pilot program.
Statewide Multi-Modal Trip Planner Initiative -- $1 million
This project will coordinate transportation information at the government and agency level to help people get to work, the doctor, school, or visit parts of the state. Commuters on our highways and who use transit will better understand their traveling options by access transportation information at work or at home. WSDOT will provide that information on their website and to area employers.
Spokane Region High Speed Rail Corridor Study -- $1 million
These funds will be used to analyze actions that can be taken to move freight and passenger rail more efficiently through the critical high speed rail corridor in Spokane.
Spokane Air Traffic Control Tower -- $3 million
Spokane is going through the process of relocating and constructing a new Air Traffic Control Tower and TRACON. Senator Murray secured $13.12 million for this project in previous appropriations
Washington State Border Communities Prosecution Initiative -- $1 million
Enforcement activities on the border between Washington state and Canada has increased dramatically since 9/11. Funding is provided to compensate those local communities along the border that have had to bear increasing costs associated with jailing, prosecuting, and defending suspected criminals for crimes at the border. Whatcom County Prosecutors have been advocating strongly for several years for funding to defray these costs. There is currently a program on the Southwest Border to help with enforcement activities, and Senators Muray and Cantwell have a bill to authorize a similar program along the northern border.
Walla Walla Economic Development Study for the Reuse of Surplus Property at the Wainwright VA Medical Center -- $250,000
The greater Walla Walla community is working with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs toward a plan that would relieve the VA of some of the surplus property and buildings. The plan would allow the local VA to realize the budget efficiencies necessary to modernize the facilities currently in use and provide the local community with a historically significant economic development opportunity. Funding would be used by the Walla Walla VA Task Force, in conjunction with the city, county and port authority to study the feasibility of their plan, including land use, environmental impact, transfer of property and upkeep of historically significant structures.
Seattle Nakamura Courthouse (repair and alterations) -- $50.21 million
These funds will renovate, modernize, and backfill to repair the aging Federal Nakamura Courthouse in Seattle, Washington (built in 1939). Specifically, it will consolidate, expand and increase space for the US Court of Appeals and future tenant agencies.