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Murray Improves Transportation Safety and Freight Mobility for the Kent and Green River Valley

Jul 01 2004

Senator Murray joins transportation leaders to break ground on FAST Corridor project

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(WASHINGTON D.C.) - Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray joined transportation and community leaders to break ground on the South 228th Street Extension project in Kent. This project will provide a safer, easier connection to I-5 and will limit conflicts between commuters and rail traffic through a new grade separation.

As Ranking Member and former chair of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, Murray helped secure over $150 million for FAST Corridor projects. This new five-line roadway will complete an east-west connection from State Route 167 to Interstate 5.

"This project is a strong link in a chain that will connect Puget Sound businesses to the rest of the nation and the entire world," Murray said. "It will help us compete in the global economy, and will keep Washingtonians working and moving.

Senator Murray remarks follow:

Thank you, Mayor White. I'd also like to thank State Transportation Commissioner Dan O'Neill for his efforts for current and future FAST projects and all the elected officials here today. Thanks to your hard work, this is a great day for the people of the Kent and Auburn Valley.

But today we're breaking ground on a project that will have positive effects well beyond the immediate area. This project is a strong link in a chain that will connect Puget Sound businesses to the rest of the nation and the entire world. It will help us compete in the global economy, and will keep Washingtonians working and moving.

So as we lift our shovels to break ground on this project, we're starting a new era of safer transportation and increased trade for families in the Kent and Auburn Valley. Today I'd like to talk about some of the local benefits of this project, but I'd also like to briefly mention how the Puget Sound region and our entire state will ultimately gain from it.

Let's begin by talking about the Kent and Auburn Valley. You have the second largest concentration of truck distribution centers on the West Coast, and your businesses move freight throughout the US and Canada as well as 170 other countries. That means that millions of people rely on you to get them the goods that make their lives better. But currently, the roadways and railways to and from the Kent and Auburn are heavily congested.

That congestion raises costs for businesses and consumers. And it creates traffic problems for commuters. The South 228th Street Extension and Grade Separation Project will provide a critical link to the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma, SeaTac Airport, and the interstate freeway and railroad systems.

This project will provide a new connection to I-5, and will limit conflicts between commuters and rail traffic through a new grade separation. This will increase the safety of your roads and will allow people to get where they're going more quickly. And, it will provide the access to our ports and our national transportation system that businesses need to control costs, stay competitive, and keep the people of the Kent and Auburn Valley working. But this project will also help put people to work and get people to work all over the state.

In Washington, we rely on domestic and international trade more than any other state in the nation. Because of the importance of trade, FAST projects are among the smartest investments we can make in our future. These corridor projects focus on improving the flow of freight and commuter traffic where we need it the most- at the points where road and rail intersect. By increasing access to our ports and distribution centers, these projects allow freight to move more efficiently, and allow people to get where they're going faster and more safely. I’m proud to have contributed to FAST Corridor Projects because they benefit our region and our state in so many ways and in so many places.

As ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee, I've worked to secure nearly $150 million for FAST Corridor projects. This is in addition to the $350 million secured from the Transportation Improvement Board and the FAST Corridor Board, as well as FAST’s other partners. So it's easy to see why the FAST Corridor is one of the nation’s most successful freight mobility projects and why it's a national model. We've brought local government, ports, private railroads and shippers, the federal government and several other entities together to improve freight mobility and safety in this region.

It's a great example of Washingtonians coming together to recognize a need and working together to come up with solutions that meet that need. This project represents the right priorities for the Kent and Auburn Valley and for our state, and I'm going to continue to fight for these priorities in the United States Senate. As your partner at the federal level, I'll keep working with you through the completion of both phases of this project and the rest of the FAST Corridor projects.