News Releases

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - In the face of $10 billion in cuts to the eleven appropriations bills passed by the Senate last year, Senator Patty Murray today announced that she has successfully protected funding for Washington state's key transportation priorities in the Omnibus Appropriations bill. The full Senate passed the Omnibus bill 69-29.

Working with her Republican counterpart on the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Murray retained the funding levels for Washington state projects that she had previously secured in the Senate's fiscal year (FY) 2003 Transportation spending bill.

"Working in a bipartisan fashion, and facing cuts across the board, I am pleased to have maintained federal funding for Washington state's urgent transportation needs," Senator Murray said. "This federal support will help ease congestion and improve safety by investing in public transportation, highways and other critical transportation infrastructure across Washington state."

In addition to the earmarked funding, Washington state will also receive hundreds of millions of dollars in federal highway and transit formula funding. Washington state will receive $503.6 million in Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) grants and $101 million in Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grants to address transportation issues throughout the state.

"Our national and regional economy is hurting, but cutting funding for key transportation projects would only do more damage. We must do all that we can to keep jobs and businesses in Washington state," Murray continued.

TRANSPORTATION EARMARKS FOR NORTHWEST WASHINGTON

Friday Harbor Ferry Terminal Preservation
($2 million)
This project will replace old, environmentally harmful, creosote treated timber pile dolphins and wing-walls with concrete and steel technology. The new steel pipe pile technology has proven to be far more durable and has documented history of reducing terminal slip casualties in the event of a hard landing.

I-5, SR 542 - Widening Sunset Drive Orleans to Britton Road ($2 million)
These funds will be used to design and widen Sunset Drive, and overcrowded rural, two-lane highway in Bellingham

Central Avenue Pedestrian Corridor-Prospect Street to the Waterfront ($250,000)
This funding will help complete the final phase of the Pedestrian Corridor by Supporting efforts to connect the Hillclimb and Amphitheater to the Civic Center.

Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor Rail Safety Improvement Projects ($1.5 million)
This project will improve the high speed rail linking Eugene, Oregon, Portland, Seattle, Washington, and British Columbia.

Seattle-Everett Rail Corridor Study($750,000)
Funding to conduct a study of track capacity and utilization by freight, commuter and intercity rail services in the Seattle-Everett Rail Corridor and the environmental challenges that would accompany expansion of that track capacity. Will help bring Sounder Commuter Rail North as soon as possible.

Small Bus Systems Grant - Island Transit ($288,000)
This funding will help replace 18 Island Transit vanpool vans.

Mount Vernon Multi-Modal Facility ($1.16 million)
This project will upgrade the current multi-modal facility to alleviate congestion.

Cattle Point Road ($350,000)
Unrelenting erosion threatens the portion of Cattle Point road that rests on an unstable bluff of sand and gravel and it is estimated that in 5-10 years the sea will claim the cliff on which the road now runs. The former owner deeded this road to the county, before the surrounding land was acquired by San Juan County National Historical Park. Currently San Juan County is working on an Environmental Impact Statement. This project will assist the county in their efforts.

Paine Field Air Traffic Control Improvements ($925,000)
Makes improvements to Paine Field's air traffic control system.

OTHER EARMKARKS FOR NORTHWEST WASHINGTON:

Whatcom County Multi-Jurisdictional Criminal Justice Data Integration Project ($500,000)
This will enable Whatcom County law enforcement officials to share data and information with appropriate justice agencies within the country and across the state

Lummi Tribe, Semiahmah Memorial and Coast Salish Heritage Park ($90,000)
The Tribe will use the funding to complete initial plans and begin implementing development of the Semiahmah Memorial and the Coast Salish Heritage Park. During expansion of the City of Blaine's wastewater treatment facility, a tribal burial ground was desecrated and human remains transported across state lines. The Lummi Tribe and other local partners are now working together to restore and enhance the tribal burial grounds.

Northwest Straits Commission ($1,245,000)
Senator Murray and former Rep. Metcalf created the Northwest Straits Commission with legislation in 1998 in response to growing concerns about the declining health of marine ecosystems in the Northwest region of the state. This grassroots effort involves representatives from county, tribal, state and federal governments, non-profit organizations and volunteers who are working together to protect and restore marine resources in northern Puget Sound.

Island County - Deer Lagoon ($600,000)
This funding will allow Island County to purchase the 379-acre Deer Lagoon property on Whidbey Island. The appropriation will fund needed the purchase of undeveloped wetland property which provides habitat for wildlife, including 170 species of resident and migratory birds. Island County plans to protect the land and create a park for public enjoyment and recreation.