News Releases

Remarks at Groundbreaking of Everett's California Street Overpass

May 28 2003

Improvements will reduce congestion, improve safety and boost freight mobility

(Everett, WA) -- Today Senator Murray helped break ground on a FAST Corridor project in Everett, which will help improve the speed of freight by reducing traffic between containers and cars.

Murray secured $10 million in the fiscal year 2003 Transportation Appropriations Spending bill for FAST Corridor.

The FAST Corridor project is a series of grade-crossing and port-access projects in the corridor between Tacoma and Everett intended to enhance passenger and freight mobility in the Puget Sound region. Senator Murray has secured over $120 million for this project to date.

Murray's remarks follow:

I’m proud to be here today as we take steps to improve our economy, our productivity, our safety, and our quality of life.

Through the hard work of WSDOT, the Ports, railroads, shippers and elected officials, the FAST Corridor vision is becoming a reality and creating a safe, efficient rail corridor in the Central Puget Sound.

As the Ranking Democrat on the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, I’ve been proud to help secure federal support for this project over the years.

Our Congressional delegation has been an integral supporter of the FAST Corridor – providing high priority funding in TEA-21 and nearly $60 million in annual appropriations.

In fact, the federal government has provided nearly $150 million in federal support. Local, state, and private sources have provided another $350 million.

We all know the importance of moving freight to and from our ports as efficiently as possible.

We all recognize the safety improvements that come when we separate rail traffic from passenger, pedestrian, and commercial traffic.

However, I don’t think any of us anticipated the depth and breadth of support that this project has received.

We live in the most trade-dependent area of the most trade-dependent state in the nation. Nearly one in three jobs is directly related to international trade.

Moving freight efficiently is critical to keeping our competitive edge in international trade and to maintaining our quality of life. With our economy still sputtering and unemployment still high, efforts to improve our business environment have become even more important.

Due to the great support and success of this project, it has become the national model for freight mobility.

Officials from around the nation have come to examine what we’ve been able to accomplish.

10 of the 15 Phase I projects are completed or nearly completed.

They are significantly increasing freight mobility and improving safety.

The California Street Overcrossing Project will greatly improve mobility to and from the Port of Everett.

This bridge will eliminate three at-grade crossings and will eliminate delays and safety hazards.

As I mentioned, funding for this project has come from many partners: the federal and state governments, the Ports, and the railroad.

I want thank all of the partners for the work they have done so far.

And we’ve got a lot more work to do. Phase I of the FAST Corridor and other freight mobility projects in Everett are ongoing.

Soon we will begin to build on the success of Phase I and turn our attention to several projects in Phase II. In Congress, we will begin reauthorizing TEA-21 soon.

This bill will present a great opportunity for the future of freight mobility in the Puget Sound.

The legislation will authorize the programs -- and set the funding levels -- for all highway and transit programs for the next six years.

We are fortunate to have Representative Larsen, as well as Representative Baird, on the committee that will write that bill in the House.

Earlier this year, Congress provided room in the budget for a 28% increase in the reauthorization.

In the Senate, we passed a 42% increase. In the House, Representative Larsen’s Committee is pushing for an even larger bill.

This would mean more money for transportation projects in the state and more federal resources for projects like the FAST Corridor.

So far, the only stumbling block is the White House. The President recently has submitted his reauthorization proposal, and frankly, it’s a disappointment.

It fails to call for any real increase in infrastructure spending.

It proposes to narrow the scope of the program that brings federal dollars to the FAST Corridor by such a degree that these projects would no longer be eligible. That would be a mistake.

Despite the lack of leadership at the White House on transportation, I am confident that -- through the work of our delegation -- we will continue to support the infrastructure we need.

I’m proud to continue working with partners like all of you for more groundbreakings like this one.