News Releases

Senator Murray Delivers Millions for Critical Southwest Washington Projects in 2009 Federal Spending Bill

Feb 23 2009

Murray includes funding to improve Vancouver waterfront, upgrade freight mobility, and dredge Columbia River in yearly Appropriations bill

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that she has included millions in funding for transportation, housing, and community development projects in Central Washington in critical yearly spending legislation. 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 Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Subcommittee, Senator Murray helped to include millions for important projects and programs in Southwest Washington in the Omnibus bill. 

"We are investing in Main Street again," said Senator Murray. "In the face of a deepening recession, this bill puts federal funding back into our communities where it can create and preserve jobs and address local needs. This funding will boost development, improve transportation, and help to get Southwest Washington’s economy moving forward. I'm proud to work to return Southwest Washington residents' tax dollars to projects in their own backyard."

The 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill will fund projects for the remainder of the 2009 Fiscal Year which runs until September 30th, 2009. The federal government is currently operating under spending levels passed for Fiscal Year 2008 because President Bush refused to sign many 2009 spending bills last year and Congress was forced to pass a continuing resolution. The 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill was unveiled today and is expected to be passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in the coming weeks. The funding levels included in this bill represent what will be sent to the President if the bill is approved by Congress.

The following projects were included in the bill in the Southwest Washington region:

Transportation

Downtown Waterfront Redevelopment Access Project, City of Vancouver: $3,087,500
This project will construct road and rail system improvements to create two new undercrossings through the BNSF rail berm, and reconnect Vancouver to the Columbia River. These underpasses will allow the City of Vancouver to expand its downtown to the waterfront, which is part of the City’s plan to construct new jobs, housing, retail, and public space along the waterfront, adding as many as 2,500 new permanent jobs and 1 million square feet of professional office space.

"I'm proud to support Vancouver's bold plan to revitalize their urban waterfront," said Senator Murray. "As we continue to face an economic slowdown, it is important that we make investments in projects that will boost our economy and get residents working again."

"At 1.5 billion, this is the single largest redevelopment project in the history of SW Washington," said Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard. "We greatly appreciate Senator Murray recognizing the unprecedented opportunity this project represents, and with this timely help we can get under construction more quickly."

Columbia River Crossing Project, Vancouver: $1,330,000
The Columbia River Crossing is a bridge, transit and highway improvement project for five miles of I-5 from State Route 500 in Vancouver, Washington, to approximately Columbia Boulevard in Portland, Oregon. Once completed, this project will reduce traffic congestion, improve freight movement, and increase safety on I-5.

West Freight Access Project, Port of Vancouver: $950,000
The Port of Vancouver, USA, is a significant public seaport that annually handles over 550 ocean-going vessels, as well as river barges. The West Vancouver Freight Access Project is a critical infrastructure investment to help the Port attract new business.  It resolves critical rail service issues in the waterfront area, and addresses necessary new freight rail access to and from the rail mainline in the Port, increases and improves rail capacity and efficiency within the port, and provides considerable capacity and velocity improvements to a national system chokepoint at the Vancouver Rail Wye.

“Completion of the West Vancouver Freight Access Project is critical to the future economic growth of the South West Washington region.  Thousands of jobs and substantial economic benefits are associated with this project,” said Larry Paulson, Executive Director of the Port of Vancouver, USA.  “Again, Senator Murray has shown she understands the needs of our state and this region and has helped secure the funding required to get this important freight mobility and economic development project completed.”

North Parkway Safety Improvement Project, City of Battle Ground: $475,000
The City of Battle Ground recognizes North Parkway Avenue, which links neighborhoods to schools and the downtown core areas, as a roadway badly in need of repair. School children are most at risk on this roadway because they are often walking along the road during low light conditions. This project will install lighting, widen the roadway, and provide two through lanes, a two-way left turn lane, curbs, gutters, sidewalks and bike lanes on each side.

“We are so grateful to Senator Murray for securing funds for the North Parkway Project," said Battle Ground Mayor Michael Ciraulo. "This critical transportation and safety project will improve access to downtown Battle Ground and provide school children with sidewalks and other improvements to ensure a safe route to school.  Senator Murray’s help in securing federal funds for this project will directly benefit our community for years to come.” 

Twin Transit Vehicle Replacement, Lewis County: $579,500
This funding will enable Twin Transit to purchase one 30’ low floor bus and two 24’ minibuses to replace aged vehicles. These new vehicles will enable Twin Transit to continue providing critical regional rural bus services to meet rural and intercity mobility needs, including those of the elderly and disabled, and people needing access to basic services and job centers. 

“The Twin Transit 2009 bus replacement project will ensure the delivery of safe and reliable transit services to Centralia and Chehalis, Washington," said Ernie Graichen, Twin Transit General Manager. "Most importantly, the replacement buses will serve special needs passengers whose ridership has doubled in three (3) years.”

Pacific Transit Vehicle Replacement, Pacific County: $456,000                   
This funding will enable Pacific Transit to purchase two 30’ buses to replace vehicles that are 16 years old. These new vehicles will allow Pacific Transit to continue providing critical regional rural bus services to meet rural and intercity mobility needs, including those of the elderly and disabled, and people needing access to basic services and job centers.

“Without the service provided by Pacific Transit, residents of Pacific County who are dependent on public transit would be isolated from the rest of the country,” said Tim Russ, Pacific Transit Director.

Fire and Oil Spill Response Communications Project, Maritime Fire and Safety Administration: $1,520,000
This funding will go towards fire and oil spill response communications infrastructure replacement and modernization that will maintain the safety, mobility and efficiency of the lower Columbia/Willamette River transportation system. These modernizations will enhance the preparedness of local fire agencies and environmental response teams in mitigating and responding to vessel fire and spill incidents.

"With Senator Murray’s help, the Maritime Fire and Safety Association will be able to complete its fire and oil spill response communications system upgrade," said Liz Wainwright, Executive Director of the Maritime Fire & Safety Association.

Clark County Food Bank, Vancouver: $712,500
This funding would go towards the construction of a new nonprofit 22,000 sq. ft. warehouse and distribution center for the Clark County Food Bank.  The new facility will provide for bulk storage and shipping, receiving, box storage, drive-in freezers and coolers, repack areas, administrative offices, meeting space/ classroom to allow expanded programs in nutrition education and advocacy, receiving and distribution docks, and future expansion capability.

“The completion of this facility is critically important as the Clark County Food Bank pursues its mission:  To alleviate hunger and its root causes throughout Clark County, Washington," said Jim Youde, CCFB Board Vice President.

Education

Southwest Washington Early Learning and Teaching Career Academy:  $133,000
The funding will go to the Southwest Washington Early Learning and Teaching Career Academy to train up to 60 Southwest Washington high school-aged youth in an education related occupation. The program will provide hands on work experience and training related to education with the goal of encouraging more young people to pursue post-secondary education and careers in the field of early learning education and K-12 teaching.

"This funding will provide a much needed boost to those on both ends of our K-12 education system – those entering school for the first time and those entering college and the workplace for the first time," said Senator Murray. "As a former preschool teacher, I know how rewarding early childhood education programs can be for both students and teachers. This program will help introduce high school students to the skills and mentors they can use to move on to a career in education and will give more Southwest Washington families the chance to prepare their children to succeed in school."

“The Children Northwest Board of Directors understands the value of recruiting youth and young adults to the early learning and K-12 education communities." said Val Ogden, Former Washington State Legislature, Member of the Children Northwest Board of Directors. "We are excited about the potential to assist these young learners in their path toward higher learning in these fields.  Their participation is crucial to the future success of educating our children.”

The Early Learning and Teaching Career Academies will enable up to 60 SW Washington young adults to explore careers in the field of education and to learn first-hand about the education and skills needed for a successful career in a high demand field. There are more than 598 annual job openings in education-related fields in Southwest Washington.

Health Care

Providence Centralia Hospital: $285,000
This project will purchase equipment and create an outreach network that will be critical to early detection and treatment of breast cancer. The goal of our program is to reach through the multiple barriers that surround underserved women in our community and embrace them with education, access, support, and care through the use of both state-of-the-art technology and navigators who share their culture, race, and language.

“Almost every family has a mother, sister, aunt or other relative diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Providence CEO Cindy Mayo. “The outcomes are good when detected early. Providence Centralia Hospital is determined to overcome barriers to treatment and screening and provide options for care that should be available in every community.  Senator Murray’s support is instrumental in making this possible.”

Energy, Environment, and Water Restoration Projects in the Southwest Washington

Columbia River at the Mouth: $14,223,000
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 Deepening: $34,451,000
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: $1,435,000
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: $ 2,670,000
These funds will be used to continue to control sediment flows in the Cowlitz and Toutle Rivers.

Port of Ilwaco Dredging: $483,000
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: $483,000
This funding will help maintain a port necessary for the commercial and recreational fishing and processing that underpin this area’s declining rural economy.