News Releases

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced critical federal funding for Southwest Washington priorities in the fiscal year 2008 Omnibus Appropriations bill. 

Due to the threat of Presidential vetoes of America’s domestic spending priorities, Congress combined several appropriations bills into one large “Omnibus bill,” which should pass both houses this week.  The Omnibus package contains critical funding for national needs like transportation, homeland security, education, labor and health.

"This federal support is the seed money that helps our communities grow," said Senator Murray. "I am proud to have helped steer this funding to community-supported projects here at home.  I work everyday to ensure that even though our state's residents are 2,500 miles from D.C., their needs are up-front and center. At a time when domestic and local needs are too often being neglected, these worthy projects are getting the support they deserve."

This spending bill is expected to be cleared by the U.S. House of Representatives tonight and sent to the Senate tomorrow.

Below are the projects included for Southwest Washington. They are separated by project type:

Transportation Projects

Port of Vancouver's West Freight Access -- $1,372,000

This project will bring new rail access to the port and enhance the port’s internal rail system. The bill includes funding for the project that will change the main rail line into the port so that it no longer runs directly across the BNSF railway mainline. This will result in a 40% reduction in rail traffic delays. Allow the port to receive large inbound trains directly into the port and will provide an area where Unit Trains can be staged, inspected, prepared and built ready for departure and add capacity for current industrial tenants and marine customers and prepare for the growth of rail cars entering the Port.

C-Tran Vehicle Replacement --$480,200
This money will help C-Tran replace current buses with 40-foot coaches that include hybrid power.  This appropriation will help C-Tran’s commitment to cleaner more fuel efficient hybrid buses

Battle Ground Community Center --$392,000
The Battle Ground Community Center will serve as a recreation and educational programming space for citizens of Battle Ground.  Construction of the Community Center is part of a larger project to spur increased activity in Battle Ground’s downtown core.

Wahkiakum County, Wahkiakum County Ferry --$196,000
The Ferry Wahkiakum is a vital part of the economy of the lower Columbia communities.  There are no other opportunities for crossing the Columbia River in the region without going a significant distance.  When either of the two bridges are closed additional traffic utilizes the ferry.  The ferry has become increasingly popular in recent years with tourist and bicyclists.   The ferry Wahkiakum has been in service for nearly 50 years.

Phoenix House, Kelso -- $490,000
Phoenix House will be a new three story building that will provide service enriched housing for homeless women with substance abuse problems who have children and/or are pregnant.  Phoenix House will enable the women to gain the stability in their lives needed to continue their recovery by providing not only a safe place to live with their children, but also opportunities to strengthen their social and life skills. Phoenix House is a partnership between the Longview Housing Authority, who will develop, own and manage the housing, and the Drug Abuse Prevention Center who will provide services to the residents of Phoenix House.  There are approximately 10 local partners that participate in the P-CAP program and include local health care and social service providers.  The local drug court is very support of this effort as well.

Clark County I-5/I-205 Salmon Creek Interchange Project --$686,000
This funding will support efforts by Clark County to build a new I-5 interchange at NE 139th and make other road improvements throughout the NE 134th Street/I-5/I-205 corridor in the northern urban area of Clark County. This project will alleviate congestion and improve safety.

Pacific Transit Vehicle Replacement -- $34,300

This funding will go toward enabling Pacific Transit to purchase 1 new vehicle to support rural mobility needs.

Energy and Water Projects

Centralia Flood Control – $98,000
These funds will go toward finding a solution to flooding in the Chehalis River basin and will continue critical efforts to design and construct a flood control project that would help to stop closure of Interstate 5 during flood season.

Columbia River at the Mouth– $14,583,000

Murray advocated for funding for channel deepening and to maintain and repair the jetties that protect the mouth of the Columbia River.

Columbia River Channel Improvement Project - $14,760,000
This funding will deepen the channel allowing larger shipping vessels in order to ensure that goods are allowed to traverse the river.

Lower Columbia River Ecosystem Restoration – $1,688,000
This funding will provide habitat restoration in the Lower Columbia River.  This will benefit endangered salmon, steelhead, and various other species.

Mt. St. Helens Sediment Control – $ 9,247,000
These funds will be used to continue to control sediment flows in the Cowlitz and Toutle Rivers.

Baker Bay Dredging – $598,000
This funding will go toward dredging for the Columbia River and Baker Bay (Ilwaco).  This project provides 108 year-round jobs and an additional 250 seasonal jobs.

Port of Chinook Dredging – $229,000

This funding will help maintain a port necessary for the commercial and recreational fishing and processing that underpin this area’s declining rural economy. 

Health Care Projects

Community Home Health & Hospice in Longview – $238,755
This funding will provide new technology which will enable Community Home Health & Hospice to provide patients with increased monitoring, nurses with better information, and Southwest Washington residents with higher quality care. Telemonitors are placed in patients' homes and prompt them to take their vital signs on at least a daily basis. 

Labor Projects

Mentoring Advanced Placement (MAP) Program -- $143,449
This funding will go toward the Vancouver, WA based Mentoring Advanced Placement (MAP) program. The MAP program helps to build a competitive workforce in Southwest Washington by teaming local students with mentors in local businesses that show them the real word applications of their studies.

Interior Projects

Vancouver National Historic Reserve Visitor Center -- $836,740
The City of Vancouver, working with the National Park Service and the Vancouver National Historic Trust, is in the design phase that will renovate the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Visitor Center into the Visitor Center for the Historic Reserve.  This project will double the existing visitor capacity at the center, which was built in the late 1960's.  The Historic Reserve is one of the most historically significant sites in the Pacific Northwest, and had over 800,000 visitors in 2006. This funding will assist the project.

Gorge Scenic Area - $ 984,400

This funding would go toward the purchase of parcels of high-priority land in the Columbia River and Gorge National Scenic Area. The lands in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area are under extreme threat of being developed, and protection of the scenic valley is critically important. The conservation of land will help ensure that the Gorge is a good place to live, work, and visit.

City of Winlock - $393,760
The City of Winlock is building a new wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) to meet a number of water quality standards, including Water Quality Standards in Olequa Creek.  Completion of this project will provide Winlock with the capacity for service expansion, which will help attract business and residential development, as well as to move forward with a planned 648 acre industrial/commercial park that is predicted to create over 2,300 local jobs.  This federal funding will also help lower resident's monthly sewer bills.