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During the call, Senator Murray highlighted her work to secure federal funding for Puget Sound Transit projects in an upcoming infrastructure package

ICYMI: $11.2 million award from Department of Transportation will go towards repairing the West Seattle Bridge as Senator Murray pushes for further funding – MORE HERE

Senator Murray: “I’m working to secure a historic federal investment to upgrade our state’s infrastructure to build a stronger, fairer economy here in Washington state for our workers and small businesses”

***WATCH SOUND TRANSIT’S VIRTUAL TOUR ON FEDERAL TRANSIT INVESTMENTS HERE***  

(Seattle, WA) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, held a press call with Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards, Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff, and Seattle Department of Transportation Director Sam Zimbabwe to highlight her efforts to secure further federal funding for critical Puget Sound transit priorities in the forthcoming American Jobs Plan. At the start of the call, Sound Transit provided a virtual tour of local transit priorities in the Puget Sound region.

During the call, Senator Murray noted the critical public transit investments secured through the American Rescue Plan, and emphasized the need for continued federal support of projects across Puget Sound to ensure that every Washington state family can get to where they need to go as quickly and safely as possible.

“I’m working to secure a historic federal investment to upgrade our state’s infrastructure to build a stronger, fairer economy here in Washington state for our workers and small businesses—it’s not just about fixing our infrastructure quick, it’s about fixing it right for current and future generations,” said Senator Murray. “That’s why I am pushing for major investments in transit in the forthcoming infrastructure package. I want to see the biggest investment in our bridges and roads since the interstate highways and the biggest investment in rail since the inception of Amtrak.  And I want to our country mobilize to take bold action on climate while we do it – investing in clean energy, building a more resilient infrastructure, and creating millions of good-paying jobs at the same time.”

Earlier this week, Senator Murray released a statement alongside Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), on a new $11.2 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant for Washington state to repair the West Seattle Bridge, and is fighting for more support for repairs to the bridge. The City of Seattle has already prioritized $100 million in local funding for the projected $175 million total cost of stabilizing and repairing the high and low bridges, and begun engineering work that would allow the repairs to proceed with the infusion of the requested INFRA grant funds for construction. Grant funding for this important safety project is essential to meeting their aggressive timeline and restoring mobility for residents and all travelers in the region.

“The American Rescue Plan has helped us and our partner agencies serve our residents as they navigated the pandemic, and the American Rescue Plan will remain critical as we work to emerge from it. As a result of the strong leadership of Senator Murray and the Puget Sound delegation, Puget Sound transit agencies received more than a billion dollars thanks to the American Rescue Plan, and that federal support is exactly what the region needed,” said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. “As Sound Transit works to deliver the largest transit expansion in the nation, we are putting our share of the American Rescue Plan to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensure our citizens have access to reliable and affordable transit for a sustainable and equitable future.”

“Sound Transit’s Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension is a game-changer for Tacoma…our community is very excited for the new light rail service, which will help bring our city’s infrastructure to the 21st century. We are already seeing an increase of private investment along the link extension corridor where transit oriented housing and new commercial space is being built right now in anticipation of its completion,” said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards. “Senator Murray has been a champion – I can’t say that enough – for the Hilltop Link Extension from the very beginning…now, we need to keep the momentum going with a comprehensive infrastructure package that puts even more investment into transit capital projects throughout the nation.”

“We need to continue supporting and investing in our transit system to build back better from the pandemic. We’ve one of the fastest growing cities in the country and we’re one of the only cities to see continual increases in transit ridership in the last decade before the pandemic. This success story is the direct result of the investments we’ve made in the transit system,” said Sam Zimbabwe, Seattle Department of Transportation Director. “As we work to expand transit access and maintain and invest in our infrastructure and our economy, we can recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, but we need that consistent federal investment in our infrastructure.”

Earlier this year, Senator Murray introduced the Public Transit Capital Investment Relief Act of 2021. The legislation would provide relief for public transportation agencies through the Capital Investment Grant (CIG) Program by increasing the federal cost share of the total project cost for qualifying projects that are under construction or near completion. In Washington state, there are currently two major transit projects that would qualify for an increase in federal cost sharing under the legislation: the Lynnwood Link Extension and the Federal Way Link Extension, both in Seattle. Senator Murray’s legislation would increase funding for the Lynwood Link Extension by a projected $978 million and for the Federal Way Link Extension by $948 million. A full list of current CIG projects can be found HERE

As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Murray has consistently fought to increase and protect federal transportation and infrastructure grant programs, including the CIG program. Senator Murray has also been a strong advocate in Congress for securing and strengthening federal investments in Washington state transportation priorities, including previously helping Sound Transit secure a $1.4 billion commitment from the federal government to help fund the Federal Way light rail extension, making the project possible. Senator Murray was also instrumental in securing more than $1.2 billion in federal funding commitments for the Lynnwood Link extension project in 2018. Earlier this year, Senator Murray commended President Biden for recommending CIG allocations for two Washington state transit projects in his budget proposal. Murray also created the TIGER/BUILD grant program in 2009—now known as RAISE grants—which invests in important road, rail, transit, and port projects, including many in Washington state.

Senator Murray’s remarks from the call as prepared for delivery are below.

“Hi everyone, thank you all so much for joining us today, and thank you to Sound Transit for that excellent “virtual” tour.

“Before we begin, I want to state very clearly at the top of this call that as we talk about making a major investment in public transit, we are also talking about clean energy, combatting climate change, and climate justice.

“We are all really feeling the impact of climate change right now and especially yesterday.

“So please know that as Congress debates a forthcoming infrastructure package, I will be making sure that investing in our infrastructure also means investing in climate action.

“I’m so pleased to be joined today by local champions for public transit like Mayor Woodards, Mr. Rogoff, and Mr. Zimbabwe.

“I’m looking forward to hearing more from each of you about current transit priorities and why federal dollars are so critical to keep Washington state families going where they need to go.

“I know just how critical public transit is to millions of Washington state families, that’s why I fought to secure $30 billion for transit agencies in the American Rescue Plan, and to ensure that the more than $345 billion we secured for state, local, and tribal governments could also support local transit agencies and their missions.

“This funding was critical, but it doesn’t mean we call it a day and pat ourselves on the back.

“Now is the time for a historic investment in infrastructure, especially public transit to ensure that every Washington state family can get to where they need to go as quickly and safely as possible.

“Recently, the Department of Transportation made several important grant announcements.

“Just last week, we secured a new $11.2 million INFRA grant for Washington state to help repair the West Seattle Bridge—something that was a priority for me.

“The West Seattle Bridge has to be functional if you want to get around the city, and so everyone here knows that the forced closure has been nothing short of a crisis…

“We need a fix as soon as possible, so I have been shaking the tree to get results in the other Washington. I spoke directly with Secretary Buttigieg on this matter and made the need for urgent action clear, so I’m glad we’re moving in the right direction, and before that, we saw millions in new Capital Investment Grants disbursed here in Washington state thanks to funding from the American Rescue Plan—including for the Sound Transit Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension project and S-DOT’s Madison Street Bus Rapid Transit  project.

“But I hear all the time from people across Washington state about the traffic and long commutes caused by aging, crumbling infrastructure.

“The federal government will need to do much, much more if we want to build back fairer and stronger.

“That's why I’m working to secure a historic federal investment to upgrade our state’s infrastructure—it’s not just about fixing our infrastructure quick, it’s about fixing it right.

“And we can do this while investing in clean energy, limiting greenhouse gas emissions, and creating millions of good-paying jobs.

“That’s why I am pushing for major investments in transit in the forthcoming infrastructure package.

“I want to see the biggest investment in our bridges and roads since the interstate highway system.

“I want to see the biggest investment in rail since the inception of Amtrak. 

“And I want to see historic investments in clean energy while we do it.

“I’ve got a lot of specific priorities I’d also like to see in any infrastructure package, like my Public Transit Capital Investment Relief Act, which would increase the amount the federal government pays for certain joint federal-local transit projects, freeing up money for more projects.

“This bill would mean increased federal funding for the Lynwood Link Extension by a projected $978 million and for the Federal Way Link Extension by $948 million.

“Look, across Washington state and all around the country there are vital public transit projects that have been on the chopping block due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Public transportation agencies were confronted with steep declines in ridership and tax revenues that all but evaporated at the onset of this public health crisis—it’s on Congress to step up and keep America moving forward…

“We took a big step forward with the American Rescue Plan, but it’s not enough.

“So I’ll say it again—getting back to normal isn’t good enough. Let’s think big and go bold, so I look forward to hearing from everyone today and taking your stories back to the other Washington. Now I’ll turn it over to the CEO of Sound Transit, Peter Rogoff.”

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