News Releases

Senator Murray Delivers Millions for King County Transportation, Housing, and Community Development Projects

Jul 10 2008

As Chairman of critical Senate Committee, Senator Murray includes funding for Sound Transit, affordable housing and economic growth for King County

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that she has included millions for King County transportation, housing, and community development projects in the Fiscal Year 2009 Senate Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill. As Chairman of the THUD Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Murray uses her position to invest in community-backed Washington state projects that may not otherwise receive federal support.

"Across King County families are feeling the effects of soaring gas prices, rising housing costs, and an economic slowdown," said Senator Murray. "That's why the targeted investments this bill makes in light rail, bus-rapid transit, and affordable housing are so important.  I'm proud to work to return King County residents' federal tax dollars to projects in their own backyard."

The THUD Appropriations bill was approved by Senator Murray's THUD Committee on Tuesday and passed the full Appropriations Committee today. It now moves to the Senate floor for consideration by the full Senate.

The following projects were included in the bill in the King County region:

Sound Transit, Central Link Light Rail – University Link, Seattle: $100,000,000

This 3.1 mile light rail extension from downtown Seattle north to the University of Washington will serve the most densely developed residential and employment area in the State of Washington.

Sound Transit, Central Link Light Rail – Initial Segment, Seattle: $28,800,000

Construction is 85 percent complete on this 14-mile regional light rail system that will serve downtown Seattle, the Duwamish industrial area south of downtown, Safeco Field and Seahawks stadium, the residential neighborhoods in Beacon Hill and the Rainier Valley, and the cities of Tukwila and SeaTac with a direct connection to the Sea-Tac International Airport. This funding represents the final phase of the project.

Bellevue-Redmond Bus Rapid Transit RapidRide, King County: $20,000,000

This funding will enable King County Metro to begin construction of a 9.25-mile long street-running Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line connecting downtown Bellevue, Crossroads Mall, the Overlake urban center, and downtown Redmond. The corridor already features substantial existing transit investment including three regional transit transfer centers, and the Bellevue - Redmond BRT project is intended to complement these facilities. The scope of work includes 12 new stations, real-time bus arrival information, signal prioritization, and 18 low-floor hybrid vehicles. Only $10,950,000 was included in the president's FY2009 budget proposal.

“This funding will support major transit service improvements in the busy Bellevue-Redmond corridor connecting the two rapidly growing downtown areas on the eastside via Crossroads and Overlake, home to Microsoft and other high-tec employers," said King County Executive Ron Sims.  "When this new RapidRide corridor is launched in 2011, customers will see frequent 10 to 15 minute bus service, enhanced transit stations and shelters along with new European-style hybrid buses that will make travel even faster and more convenient."

Vashon Island Passenger Ferry, King County: $1,000,000

The project would enable the continuation of passenger only ferry service between Downtown Seattle and Vashon Island. The Vashon Island passenger only ferry is the only direct mode of transportation for local residents between Vashon Island and Downtown Seattle. This funding will be used to facilitate the continuation of this service by either purchasing a high-speed passenger only ferry vessel, or leasing or retrofitting one of the existing vessels and improving the docking facilities.

"This funding will allow the King County Ferry District to make the key improvements necessary to maintain passenger only ferry service linking Vashon Island and downtown Seattle," said ferry district board member Dow Constantine.  "This ferry service, providing the only direct mode of travel between the island and downtown, will ensure that the future transportation needs of residents are met while benefiting the overall local economy of Vashon.”

Cascade Supportive Housing Facility Construction Project, Seattle: $750,000

This project will provide 83 studio apartments for chronically homeless and mentally ill people. At least one-third of the residents will be homeless veterans. This project will include services for residents, including the participation of the Department of Veterans Affairs. It is a key component of King County’s Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness.

“To end homelessness, we must find programs that work in reaching those who are the hardest to reach,” said Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. “Evaluations by the University of Washington show that the Housing First model implemented by Downtown Emergency Service Center works. Instead of letting people fall through the cracks, DESC’s Cascade Supportive Housing will help homeless, mentally ill people, including homeless vets, to stabilize and rebuild lives while taking a costly strain off our social safety net.”

South Pacific South Bus Rapid Transit, King County: $281,520

This funding will go to complete implementation of the Pacific Highway South RapidRide project which runs from Sound Transit's Light Rail Station at 154th Street (north of SeaTac Airport) to the Federal Way Transit Center (near SeaTac Mall), a distance of 10.35 miles. The funding will increase efficient bus service to a rapidly growing area of King County.

King County Housing Authority (KCHA) Greenbridge HOPE IV, King County: $1,000,000

The Greenbridge HOPE VI project is redeveloping dilapidated public housing to create a mixed-income, pedestrian-oriented community containing housing, parks, open space and community services and facilities. Greenbridge will provide up to 1,000 units of rental and for-sale housing to meet a wide variety of needs, including low-income and affordable units. Once finished, there will be a library, renovated community center, youth and family facilities, Head Start and child care, food bank, career development center, community gathering spaces and neighborhood-scale retail to meet everyday needs.

“Greenbridge is an award-winning master-planned neighborhood that promotes a child and family friendly environment, low-impact, green building practices, and investment in the larger White Center community," said Stephen Norman, Executive Director of the King County Housing Authority. "The parks, trails and playgrounds are sited to allow parents to keep a watchful eye on their children while playing on a swingset or walking to school. The large amount of permeable surface that the parks and open spaces provide improves drainage at the site and eliminates the need for each housing unit to have its own lawn. These public places serve as gathering spaces, enhancing the sense of community and adding to the overall health and livability of the entire neighborhood.”

Greenbridge Early Learning Center, Seattle: $1,000,000

This project will fund the expansion of Head Start to help the almost 1500 local children that qualify for the program, but are unable to be served due to lack of capacity. The learning center will provide for sustainable, integrated and accessible child development and family support services that are reflective of the diverse culture, strengths and needs of White Center families.

“The Greenbridge Early Learning Center and its programs will serve as a platform for a new kind of partnership dedicated to bringing quality early learning services to children at highest risk of school failure and is compelling because we know that when children in a high poverty community have access to quality early learning experiences, the number of children who enter school ready to learn and succeed dramatically increases,” said Monte Bridges, Superintendent, Puget Sound Educational Service District.

Burien Heights Residences and Veterans Housing, Burien: $225,000

This project will provide permanent, affordable housing and on-site mental health treatment and case management for 23 adults living with serious mental illness. Three of the 23 beds among the 15 units will be specifically set aside of veterans. Highline West Seattle Mental Health’s clinical staff will work with each client to identify the supports needed to ensure their success in the community.

"We are so grateful to have received critical federal support toward the construction of housing in Burien," stated Dr. David Johnson, Highline West Seattle Mental Health’s CEO. “These funds will allow us to provide permanent, affordable housing and mental health treatment to people who are working courageously to surmount the challenges of serious and persistent mental illness.”

Eritrean Community Center Improvement Project, Seattle: $300,000

The Eritrean Association of Greater Seattle is seeking to expand their current Community Center facility with a 4,800 sq. ft. addition in order to house the many community programs and to significantly strengthen their capacity to serve more than 5,000 members. Funding would go towards replacing their current, structurally unsafe, program space and upgrade their Community Center kitchen to commercial standards.

"With the new expansion of the Community Center we will have the ability to provide additional services that are needed by youth, families, and seniors," said Workinesh Tianen, Eritrean Association Board Member. "The education and cultural classes for the youth are so important in helping them stay away from gangs and become productive citizens."

A-B Street Corridor Connector Project, City of Auburn: $2,000,000

This project will connect a major north-south corridor by constructing a 1.47 mile missing link that is part of the 3.5 mile A-B Street corridor. The A-B Corridor Connector is a job-generating new arterial corridor vital to the economic health of the City. The development along this future corridor is expected to account for 70 percent of Auburn’s future job growth, including 5,000 new jobs.  The corridor will also provide a northerly emergency access point for traffic entering and leaving the city center.

“The A/B Corridor is one of the few opportunities identified in the last decade for an additional north-south corridor in the Valley Cities area for both freight and commuters," said Peter Lewis, Mayor of Auburn. "Senator Murray’s longstanding support for this project has enabled the City to successfully address the economic and traffic needs of its citizens.”

Welcome Center Intermodal Transit Facility, Enumclaw: $1,500,000

This project will provide parking for a minimum of 100 vehicles and create a transit facility for shuttle services to Mt. Rainier National Park, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Crystal Mountain Ski Resort and other points of interest along State Route 410. This facility will address the current and growing congestion on the Chinook Scenic Byway and within the Mt. Rainier National Park.

"The Welcome Center transit facility provides a natural transition point between the urbanized areas and the much used and valuable natural resources found in Mt. Rainier National Park and other adjacent federal lands,” said Emunclaw Mayor John Wise.

Washington State Ferries: $5,000,000

This funding will go toward Washington state ferries and is from the federal Ferry Boats and Ferry Terminal Facilities Program.