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Senate committee passes wide-ranging bill today that includes robust investments in TIGER and Capital Investment Grant programs, despite President Trump’s attempt at massive cuts

Sen. Murray also applauds renewed investments in affordable housing  

(Washington, D.C.) - Today, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced the Committee has rejected President Trump’s proposed cuts to critical transportation and housing programs, and instead approved multiple investments important to Washington state. The Fiscal Year 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill now moves to the full Senate.

“Today, a bipartisan group of senators came together to reject President Trump’s short-sighted cuts to the kinds of investments that make a real difference to families and workers in Washington state and around the country,” Sen. Murray said. “Whether it’s infrastructure investment, affordable housing, education, or medical research, I will keep fighting to make sure the federal government continues to be a good partner to the communities we represent.”

The legislation passed today includes:

Transportation Highlights:

  • TIGER: $550 million, rejecting President Trump’s proposal to eliminate the program
    • Since Sen. Murray created the TIGER program in 2009, it has awarded $5.1 billion to help facilitate 421 projects in every state in the country, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. Of that total, Washington state has received $239 million to support 16 projects. These include the Tacoma LINK Expansion, a new ferry terminal in Mukilteo, the North Spokane Corridor, the Mercer Corridor Redevelopment project in Seattle, the South Park Bridge Replacement in King County, the West Vancouver Freight Access project at the Port of Vancouver, improvements to I-5 to relieve congestion around Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and terminal modernization projects at the Ports of Seattle and Everett.
    • Capital Investment Grant Program: $2.1 billion, rejecting President Trump’s proposal to block new transit projects from receiving funding, and instead supporting three transit projects in Puget Sound, including Sound Transit’s Lynnwood Link Extension and Seattle Department of Transportation’s Center City Connector Streetcar and Madison Street Bus Rapid Transit.
    • Amtrak: $1.2 billion to support long-distance routes, including the Coast Starlight and Empire Builder that run through Washington, which President Trump sought to terminate.
    • Crude-by-rail Safety Initiatives:
      • $15.9 million for the Automated Track Inspection Program, Railroad Safety Information System, and research and development,
      • $2 million for the Short Line Safety Institute for safety training for short line railroads transporting crude oil and ethanol, a program Sen. Murray helped create in 2014 and which supports short line railroads in Washington,
      • $2 million for tank car research activities, and
      • Directs the U.S. Department of Transportation to complete a rulemaking to expand comprehensive oil spill response plan requirements to rail carriers no later than 5 days after enactment of this bill to better protect the safety of our communities and environment.
      • $11 million for the FAA Center of Excellence for Alternative Jet Fuels and Environment, which is led by Washington State University
      • $162 million for the Contract Tower Program, which supports seven airports in Washington – Bellingham International, Felts Field (Spokane), Olympia, Renton, Tacoma Narrows, Walla Walla Regional, and Yakima.
      • Exempts small airports with at least 25,000 annual passenger boardings, like Walla Walla Regional Airport, from cost-share requirements under the Contract Tower Cost Share Program, saving Walla Walla Regional Airport approximately $90,000 per year.
      • Prevents the FAA from eliminating the Contract Weather Observers program at any airport, including Spokane International Airport.
      • $10 million for assistance to small shipyard grants, which support infrastructure improvements and equipment upgrades at small shipyards to help increase productivity, efficiency, and operational competitiveness.
      • $1.5 million for the Office of Pipeline Safety for Information Grants to Communities, which is critical to communities and organizations in Washington, like the Pipeline Safety Trust, working to help local governments understand where pipelines are located, implement programs to prepare first responders, and more.

Housing Highlights:

  • Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) Section 8 Contract Renewals: $21.4 billion
  • Community Development Block Grant (CDBG): $3 billion
  • HOME Investment Partnerships Program Formula Grants: $950 million
  • Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH): $40 million
    • The HUD-VASH program combines rental assistance from HUD with case management and clinical services provided by the VA. Sen. Murray helped restart the HUD-VASH program in 2008, which she has continued to help fund every year since. Since 2008, more than 79,000 vouchers have been awarded in communities across Washington state and around the country.

For more on housing: Video of Sen. Murray questioning Housing Secretary Dr. Ben Carson in June 2017 about the President’s proposed budget and the impact it would have on Washington state.