News Releases

Senator Murray Joins Richland Residents to Celebrate Transportation & Quality of Life Project

Aug 02 2005

Remarks by Senator Patty Murray at Dedication of SR 240 Soundwall

(Richland, WA) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray joined more than a dozen neighbors and local leaders to celebrate the completion of a soundwall along SR 240 between Hanford and the Tri-Cities. Murray helped secure $2 million in the Senate to fund this quality of life improvement. After a brief speaking program, Richland Mayor Rob Welch, Mayor Pro Tempor Carol Moser, Senator Murray and others applied paint to the soundwall and broke ground on the next phase of the project.

Listen to Senator Murray's Remarks

Senator Murray's remarks follow:

Thank you, Mayor Welch. And thanks to everyone who's here today to celebrate the completion of this great project. I’d particularly like to thank Congressman Doc Hastings for joining us today and being a part of this. Over the years Doc and I have worked together on many projects and fought for this community, and you have a great advocate in him. I am delighted to share this stage with him today as we celebrate this great project. We're here today to recognize the hard work and community effort that went into making this sound wall project a reality. More than five years ago, community leaders identified expanding State Route 240 as a priority in meeting the growing needs of this region. They knew improving SR-240 and I-182 were critical to regional transportation in the Tri-Cities, and they wanted to make sure it got done. But, there was a crucial element of these projects that was missing and that was the quality of life the people who lived here that needed to be restored.

So, today, we are here to celebrate the restoration of the community's quality of life. To me, that's just as important as the increased efficiency and economic growth the area has already begun to see as a result of the expansion of SR-240 and I-182. Some of you know that I got involved in transportation 16 years ago now when I was elected to the Washington State Senate. At the time, I ran for office because I had been involved in education and was on the Shoreline School Board. But when I got to Olympia I realized that transportation was becoming an increasingly important issue for our state. So I asked to serve on the Transportation committee. Now, up until that time, no woman had served in history of our country on the Transportation Committee. So you know, I get the old "so you know how to play golf!" questions. And I got past all of that because I knew how important it was to be on that committee. And I have been involved in transportation policy ever since. Now, here I am sixteen year later as the top ranking Democrat on the Transportation Appropriations Committee that funds all of the transportation and infrastructure not only for our state and our region but for our entire country. So, it was a good decision many years ago and I still don't have time to play golf.

I have been very proud to have the opportunity to work here especially with local community leaders in the Tri-Cities. I am particularly proud of working together in this area to improve State Route 240, which is a vital link between Richland and the entire Tri-Cities region. I’ve been working back in Washington, DC with Congressman Hastings, to support your many efforts, and I want you to know that I will continue to do so. In fact, in 2003 and 2004, we worked together to secure $3 million for improvements to the interchange at I-182 and SR-240, and $2 million for I-182 from Queensgate to SR-240.

That cooperation has allowed me to keep track of the progress of transportation and has allowed me to stay informed here with all of you about your emerging needs. So, when people along SR-240 noticed increased noise after widening was completed in 2001, I was so impressed by the City of Richland's rapid response that they put together to get WSDOT to do a review and then persevere to make sure that this important project became a reality. And, today, I'm so proud of this community's work in getting this soundwall built despite many of the initial obstacles. You recognized the need. The neighbors came together that are here. You didn't give up. And that hard work and innovative thinking has resulted in being here today, and I am very proud of all of you.

I know the expansions completed here in 2001 and all of the projects that are still ongoing are a huge benefit to this community, and this region. Like all investments in transportation, these projects mean safer, less congested roads. And they mean this stretch of highway will be a great place for businesses and economic development in the future. This project, in particular, I am proud of because it speak directly to quality of life, which we often forget about when we talk about transportation policy. The people who live next door to these projects deserve to be recognized and their needs need to be heard. That's why I'm so delighted to be here today with all of you. While I am here, I want to share some really great news. On Friday, Congressman Hastings and I participated in the vote to finally pass the transportation authorization bill. I wanted you to know that I was able to get $2.75 million for construction of the new highway interchange and grade-separated railroad crossing at the intersection of SR-240 and Van Giesen Street. So, I want you to know that today is a great day. It's what transportation is all about. It's neighbors who smile along with the community leaders for projects that bring about economic development, safety, and quality of life, and I'm very proud to be here with all of you today.