News Releases

Senator Murray Delivers $1.9 Million for Whatcom County Transit Buses

Feb 23 2009

As Chairman of critical Senate Committee, Senator Murray includes funding to bolster bus service in Whatcom County

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that she has included $1,900,000 for to replace aging buses operated by the Whatcom Transportation Authority. The funding is included in the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which provides funding for most federal government programs and targeted community projects for Fiscal Year 2009. The Omnibus bill is separate from the Economic Recovery bill passed by Congress and enacted by Barack Obama last week. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Murray helped to include millions for important projects and programs in Whatcom County in the Omnibus bill. The funding levels included in this bill represent what will be sent to the President if the bill is approved by Congress.

"This funding will help modernize WTA’s bus fleet and help them to better serve residents throughout the county," said Senator Murray.

“The need to replace two thirds of our bus fleet happens to correspond with the most dramatic ridership increases in WTA history," said WTA General Manager, Richard Walsh. "This funding--to replace our aging fleet with new diesel-compatible buses--comes at a critical time for the residents of Bellingham and Whatcom County.” 

The funding that Senator Murray has included in this bill will be used to purchase four new bio-diesel compatible buses to replace a portion of the aging fleet.  Of the 53 full-size buses currently operated by the Whatcom Transportation Authority, 33 will be fully depreciated by the end of 2009. The 33 buses must be replaced to keep the fleet operational and to maintain the current level of service in the county.

Replacement of these vehicles is critical for Whatcom Transportation Authority to continue to serve the more densely populated areas of Bellingham and connections between Bellingham and Ferndale, Lynden, the Lummi Nation Reservation, and Mount Vernon.WTA will replace the aging fleet with new, bio-diesel compatible buses, which will reduce CO2 emissions in the county.