News Releases

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today, the Senate passed its version of the transportation reauthorization legislation which will provide funding for the nation’s highway, transit and safety programs over the next five years.

The “Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act” (SAFETEA) will provide a total of $295 billion to assist states and communities with investments in highway and transit projects that will reduce congestion, improve safety on our nation’s highways, and, enhance the quality of life for millions of Americans. The Senate’s version of the bill is $11.2 billion greater than the amount proposed by President Bush and the level passed by the House of Representatives on March 10th.

“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. “While I am pleased that we have finally passed this long overdue funding, it remains well below the amount needed to make true investments in the future of our transportation system. Washington state and others across the country are facing tough challenges, and these dollars are urgently needed to help improve our quality of life and increase economic prosperity.”

The passage of SAFETEA is long overdue, but well below the $318 billion level that was passed by the Senate last year.

Included in the bill was a provision championed by Murray to increase funding for our nation’s ferry systems to $56.9 million per year.

“Ferry travel is an important and growing mode of transportation in Washington state and across the country. Despite this growing importance, our investment in ferries pales in comparison to those for highways and other forms of mass transit,” Murray said. “My amendment recognizes the importance of ferries to our nation’s transportation infrastructure and provides the resources and support they need to grow.”