News Releases

CRC/SKAGIT BRIDGE: Senate Transportation Bill Includes Funds for CRC, Critical Bridges Like The I-5 Skagit River Span

Jun 25 2013

Transportation spending bill continues strong federal support for the CRC

In the wake of the Skagit River bridge collapse, bill creates new federal funding program for bridges along vital corridors

As Subcommittee Chair, Murray includes crucial support for transportation priorities in Washington state

 (Washington, D.C.) – Today, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) unanimously passed its fiscal year 2014 spending bill, which includes millions in federal funding for the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) project in Southwest Washington and $500 million in new federal funding for bridges that service crucial corridors, such as the I-5 bridge that collapsed last month in Skagit County, WA. As Chair of the Subcommittee, Senator Murray was the primary author of the bill.

“I was thrilled when the President included funding for the CRC in his budget request, and I’ve worked hard to ensure the Senate transportation spending bill reflects our shared commitment to this important project,” said Senator Murray, Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development.  “For more than a decade, stakeholders from Washington state and Oregon have worked together to move the CRC forward, and the funding in my bill represents our continued federal support for this project.”

“The collapse of the Skagit River bridge was a stern wake-up call to the need to reinvest in our aging bridges, particularly along vital corridors like I-5 that support commuters, small businesses, and large manufacturers alike,” said Senator Murray.  “That’s why I worked to include significant federal funds  for bridges across our country that allow businesses to ship goods and grow our economy.”

Senator Murray worked to include $1.9 billion in the bill for the “New Starts” transit program, including $65 million for the CRC project, which was also included in President Obama’s FY 2014 federal budget request.  Overall, the legislation includes $54 billion for transportation projects, housing assistance, and community development around the country, compared with $44.1 billion in the corresponding legislation in the House of Representatives.

In the wake of Skagit River bridge collapse, Senator Murray also worked to establish the Bridges in Critical Corridors (BRICC) program in the bill to provide $500 million to reinvest in bridges along crucial corridors across the country.  The funding will be distributed through a competitive process, and the program is designed to ensure funds address aging infrastructure in both urban and rural areas around the country. This is the first federal effort to direct infrastructure investments specifically to bridges along corridors that are vital to commerce.  Currently, states are largely responsible for deciding which projects receive federal funds.

On June 13th, Senator Murray held a Subcommittee hearing on our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, and questioned officials from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Government Accountability Office on the challenges involved with repairing our aging roads, bridges, and highways.  The witnesses discussed the importance of bridges and infrastructure that serve crucial corridors, and described the importance of major regional projects like the CRC. -  Full video of that hearing.

The full Senate Appropriations Committee will vote on the bill Thursday.  After passage, it will be considered by the full Senate.