News Releases

Senator Murray Delivers $2 Million for Whatcom County Transit Buses

Jul 10 2008

As Chairman of critical Senate Committee, Senator Murray includes funding to bolster bus service in Whatcom County

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that she has included $2 million for to replace aging buses operated by the Whatcom Transportation Authority. The funding Senator Murray included is 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.

"As gas prices continue to skyrocket, it's important that we invest in providing mass transit solutions for Whatcom County residents," said Senator Murray. "The funding in this bill will allow Whatcom County Transit to purchase environmentally-friendly buses that will help meet the County's increased demand for bus service."

“The need to replace two thirds of our bus fleet happens to correspond with the most dramatic ridership increases in WTA history," said WTA General Manager, Richard Walsh. "This funding--to replace our aging fleet with new diesel-compatible buses--comes at a critical time for the residents of Bellingham and Whatcom County.” 

The funding that Senator Murray has included in this bill will be used to purchase four new bio-diesel compatible buses to replace a portion of the aging fleet.  Of the 53 full-size buses currently operated by the Whatcom Transportation Authority, 33 will be fully depreciated by the end of 2009. The 33 buses must be replaced to keep the fleet operational and to maintain the current level of service in the county.

Replacement of these vehicles is critical for Whatcom Transportation Authority to continue to serve the more densely populated areas of Bellingham and connections between Bellingham and Ferndale, Lynden, the Lummi Nation Reservation, and Mount Vernon.WTA will replace the aging fleet with new, bio-diesel compatible buses, which will reduce CO2 emissions in the county. 

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