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(Kent, WA) - Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray joined with local leaders in Kent, Washington to discuss her success in securing a $1.5 million earmark for the Kent Station Project.

Senator Murray's remarks follow:

"Thank you, Mayor White. I'm thrilled to be here today to talk about the transportation and infrastructure improvements that will strengthen Kent's position as one of south King county's premiere cities.

I want to comment on this step forward and tell you all about some additional funding the Senate approved on Thursday, that I know Mayor White and all of you will be pleased to hear.

If the groundbreaking and construction schedules go according to plan, we can all expect to be here next year to celebrate the opening of the Kent Station.

Kent Station will be at the heart of a brand new future for the city. It begins with the newly named Ramsay Way. This 22-acre redevelopment will provide the residents of 480 new homes with a lively and productive center with shops, restaurants, a new conference center, and a hotel. This type of economic development and revitalization is critical as we try to boost employment and get our economy moving again.

But we couldn't have gotten this far already without the strong partnerships at the local, regional, state and federal levels.

Sound Transit, King County, Metro and the Puget Sound Regional Council are among some of the partners that will make Kent Station so successful in the years to come.

I'm proud to represent the federal funding partner in this undertaking. As Chairman of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee last year, I was charged with putting the federal budget together for all the highways, transit systems, railroads, airports, and seaports in the country.

This year we faced tighter budget limits. But by working in a bipartisan fashion, with my Republican colleagues, I was able to protect all of Washington state's transportation priorities in the bill that passed the Senate on Thursday.

Two years ago I worked with the City of Kent and the Puget Sound Regional Council to review this project, and we quickly saw its value for the community. In the Senate, I secured $900,000 in my 2002 Transportation Bill for what is now called Ramsay Way. In addition, I'm proud that the federal government provided $2 million to the Puget Sound Regional Council to distribute on a competitive basis for this project.

I also worked with Sound Transit to provide $30 million this year, and $20 million last year, for Sounder and its Kent service.

The Sounder station now allows Kent residents to commute to jobs in Seattle. Already in use, the Sounder parking garage will serve even more people when Kent Station is finished. It should be clear that the investment we are putting into this community will pay many dividends by reducing congestion and improving public safety.

I knew when I first secured federal assistance for these projects that more would be needed to accomplish the city's plan.

When I was here last August I pledged to continue to work with the Mayor, stakeholders and partners to identify and, when possible, assist other high priority projects for the City of Kent.

So I'm proud to be here today to announce that I have secured $1.5 million for the city's Intracity Transit Project in the bill the Senate passed, late Thursday night.

The project will assist the City of Kent Commute Trip Reduction Program by helping to provide connector service between Kent's Sounder Commuter Rail Station and parking garage to Kent's Industrial Valley.

The transportation connections that will be established by the Intracity Transit Project will add further to the vitality of the Kent Station and the surrounding area by offering more transportation options to residents, shoppers and visitors.

Again, I'm extremely proud to be here today and I'm looking forward to seeing all the good things that will happen to Kent in the future."