News Releases

EASTERN WA: Senator Murray Secures Support for Job-Creating Projects in Eastern Washington

Jul 21 2010

As Chair of Key Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Murray Wins Support for Eastern WA Economic Priorities

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Subcommittee announced that she has included funding to boost Eastern Washington transportation and economic development in the Fiscal Year 2011 THUD Appropriations bill.  The funding will create construction jobs that support community projects, make critical road safety improvements, and improve access to local transit. 

The key spending bill passed through the THUD Appropriations Subcommittee today, and will now move to the full Appropriations Committee for consideration.

“Especially now, it is critical to steer funding into transportation projects that create jobs and boost local economies in our own backyard in Eastern Washington,” said Senator Murray. “This funding will go to support community projects like a new Boys and Girls club in Spokane and improvements to Highway 12, and I’m committed to continue securing investments for these and other local needs.”

The following projects were included in the bill for the Eastern Washington region:

Riverpoint Revitalization Project - $2,000,000

The City of Spokane will receive funding to support the preparation and cleanup of a former industrial site. This piece of land is key to the City’s University District Master Plan for development and expansion and overall economic development strategy.  

This project is a key investment in helping the City of Spokane move forward with its economic development strategy for this part of the City.

Keller Ferry Replacement Project - $2,000,000

Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation will receive funding to support the replacement of the Keller Ferry. 

The Washington State Department of Transportation has determined that, after more than six decades of continuous and sometimes difficult service, the Keller Ferry has reached the end of its useful life and must be replaced. The current vessel does not meet current US Coast Guard safety requirements and a replacement ferry would not only ensure safe passage for those who depend on the ferry, but it will also enhance freight delivery and help enhance the local economy. 

“The Colville Tribes, along with members of the state legislature, school officials, and county commissioners, have worked hard to get a new ferry at Keller.  It’s an old and potentially dangerous vessel and this new funding for a replacement ferry will not only ensure safe transportation those who depend on the ferry, but will also provide a much needed economic boost to the region,” said Michael O. Finley, Chairman, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

Division Street Corridor Improvements - $1,000,000

The City of Spokane will receive funding to support the design, purchase and construction of intersection improvements such as intersection treatments, pedestrian countdown timers, streetscape enhancements, and sidewalk widening.

Currently, the infrastructure of the Spokane gateway is nearing the end of its expected life. This project will help improve this important corridor to meet the current demands for multimodal transportation and to advance a long-held community priority. It will improve safety by ensuring pedestrians, bikes and cars are given enough crossing time to maintain a safe intersection. In addition, this project will decrease traffic congestion in the area.

“This is truly one of the most important steps we can take as a community as a means of announcing our revitalization of our downtown, our adjacent business districts and the ever growing University District. It is building on our past to create our future. This will be a huge step forward,” said Mary Verner, Mayor, City of Spokane.

Spokane Boys and Girls Club - $775,000

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Spokane County will receive funding to contribute toward the purchase and renovation of the Northtown Club as well as the renovation of a new Boys and Girls Club in the Mead community. 

Because of the distressed nature of the communities these Clubs serve, this funding would support a safe and positive place for the children in these neighborhoods.

“Mead Public Schools are proud to partner with the Boys & Girls Club and ensure that the youth in our district have a safe place to get help with their homework, have a nutritious snack and be surrounded by positive adult role models. By working together, we know that the youth in our community will benefit greatly,” said Dan Butler, Assistant Superintendent of Mead School District.

Spokane Transit Paratransit Vehicle Replacements - $1,000,000

The Spokane Transit Authority will receive funding to help purchase vehicles for paratransit service.

The acquisition of these vans would help fulfill Spokane Transit Authority’s Federal ADA requirements, and enables Spokane Transit Authority to continue providing the high level of door-to-door paratransit service our customers deserve.

“Paratransit links people who are disabled, and unable to use the regular fixed route bus, to employment, housing, education, recreation, health services, worship services, and more. These new vans will enhance STA’s ability to provide Paratransit service that is safe, convenient, and accessible,” said E. Susan Meyer, CEO, Spokane Transit.

 U.S. Highway 12 Safety Improvements - $1,000,000

The Port of Walla Walla will receive funding to support right-of-way acquisition for Phase 7A of the 8-Phase Highway 12 Project which is being constructed from Burbank to Walla Walla.

Expanding US Highway 12 from two lanes to a four-lane, divided highway is critical for improving safety, fostering economic development throughout southeast Washington, and addressing growing congestion.

“Senator Murray has once again shown us why she is such an effective advocate for a project that is of such critical regional and statewide importance.   The four-laning of U.S. Highway 12 is a clear Walla Walla Valley regional priority and we can’t thank Senator Murray enough for her tireless support of this crucial safety project,” said Paul Schneidmiller, Commissioner and President, Port of Walla Walla.

Washington State Farmworker Trust for Capacity Building - $200,000

Funding will provide for the development and implementation of a program to preserve and create jobs by supporting the agricultural industry in Washington state while also stabilizing the workforce by providing affordable housing.

The project will stabilize the agricultural workforce in our state by improving housing conditions, providing a marketing advantage for Washington agriculture in an increasing competitive global marketplace, and providing new affordable housing resources to low and moderate income households.

“Washington State has long been a leader in providing affordable housing for the hard working people who feed us, but we still have much more to do. The WA Farmworker Housing Promise offers the entire food supply chain, from farm to fork, an opportunity to participate in building a more sustainable agricultural community. We’re proud of our quality produce and the people who grow it. We’re proud of the communities we’re building together,” said Brien Thane, WSFHT Executive Director.