(Seattle, WA) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), chairman of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Committee, announced that through a program that she created in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) the effort to rebuild the South Park Bridge in Seattle will receive $34 million to complete financing plans. The funding is part of the Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER II) program that Senator Murray created to invest in major transportation projects that create jobs and bolster regional economies.
“This is a huge victory for a community that deserves an economic jolt,” said Senator Murray.”A rebuilt South Park Bridge will get workers back on the job, customers back into businesses, and ease congestion through South Seattle,” said Senator Murray. “At a time when every job counts, this project will create private sector employment and will help small businesses and customers connect. These are the types of projects I fight to support in our state. The South Park community came together to support this effort, state and local leaders came up with a funding plan but they needed federal support to get to the finish line. I’m proud to have established the TIGER program to fund projects like these that create jobs through large-scale construction projects and have a lasting economic impact on communities.”
The $34 million that Senator Murray helped secure for this project will provide all the federal funding needed to complete financing plans to rebuild the bridge.
This project will replace the 81-year old South Park Bridge, closed in June of 2010 by King County for safety reasons. Before its closure, this structure connected a large manufacturing and industrial area to downtown Seattle, the Port of Seattle and Sea-Tac airport, carrying nearly 10 million tons of cargo annually. The closure of the structure has forced freight traffic onto already congested routes serving the South Seattle area. Additionally, the South Park neighborhood is home to 3,700 residents and 115 businesses whose lives and livelihoods are seriously disrupted without a safe, functioning bridge. This already economically distressed area has seen an increased downturn since the bridge’s closure.
Senator Murray created the TIGER grant program in 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). As head of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Committee, Murray believed that the bill needed to include a program that would invest in transportation projects of regional significance.
In September, Senator Murray directed U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood to visit the site of the bridge during a trip to announce transportation investments. Senator Murray also sent a letter of support for the project to Secretary LaHood.