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Sen. Murray Secures Nearly $8 Million for EASTERN WASHINGTON Transportation and Economic Development Priorities

Nov 18 2005

Freight, rail, airport facilities receive critical federal funding

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) announced that she has secured $ 7.8 million for transportation, housing and economic development priorities throughout Eastern Washington. Senator Murray secured the funding as the highest-ranking Democrat on the Senate Transportation, Treasury, the Judiciary and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee.

Today, a House-Senate conference committee approved the FY 2006 spending bill for the departments of Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development, and other federal agencies. Now the bill goes to the full House and Senate for final passage and then to the President for his signature.

Updated on 11/30/05: The funding listed here is now federal law. President Bush signed these appropriations into law on November 30, 2005.

"In a tough budget year, we're making real investments in our roads, economy and community," Senator Murray said. "This funding will support jobs throughout the region, make our transportation infrastructure safer and more efficient, and strengthen the quality of life that families enjoy throughout Eastern Washington."

Senator Murray was particularly proud to secure $1 million for the Washington State Produce Rail Car Program which will help restore and refurbish rail cars in order to put them in service to help move perishable commodities to ports and other markets.

"For years, Washington growers have been penalized by high transportation costs and difficulty getting rail cars. This funding will provide the rail cars they need to move their produce to market," Senator Murray said.


  • Northeast Community Center Association Capital Improvement Project -- $500,000 - Northeast Community Center works to improve the quality of life for residents of Spokane through a variety of human service programs. The center has been locally and nationally recognized for its ability to forge innovative coalitions between neighborhoods, local businesses, and industry to benefit the community. The funding secured by Senator Murray will assist the center in its efforts to expand its facility.

  • Port of Walla Walla Intermodal Freight Facilities -- $1.5 million - The Port of Walla Walla has entered into a public-private partnership with Railex, a freight transportation company dedicated to transporting fresh produce from the west coast to the east coast in a time efficient and cost effective manner. The funding secured by Senator Murray will help construct new intermodal freight facilities on property recently purchased by the Port of Walla Walla. The project includes a new 200,000 square foot warehouse/distribution facility, loading docks and related road improvements, and the construction of a rail spur and related site work.

  • Pullman Transit -- $50,000 - The funding provided will enable Pullman Transit to purchase a new vehicle. This vehicle will replace an older vehicle and help increase the safety and reliability of this rural public transportation system.

  • Renovation of the Fox Theater -- $325,000 - For more than 70 years the Fox Theater has hosted movies and the performing arts. Built in 1931 and purchased by the Spokane Symphony in 2000, “the Fox” is in need of significant renovations. The Symphony has capital campaign that has already raised more than $9 million. The funding secured by Senator Murray will support the Symphony’s efforts and help leverage additional funding for the renovation project.

  • Spokane International Airport -- $3 million - With continued federal support from Senator Murray, the Spokane Airport has built a new Air Traffic Control Tower and TRACON. The funding provided will complete that project and allow the airport to demolish seven buildings so that the new tower can be fully utilized. Senator Murray has previously secured $16 million for this project.

  • Spokane University District, Riverside Avenue Extensions, Phases 2 & 3 -- $1,500,000 - The funding secured by Senator Murray will support economic development activities in Spokane’s University District. Specifically, the funding will be used to extend Riverside Avenue east along the south side of the Spokane River to connect with Trent Avenue at Perry Street, eliminating the need for an arterial crossing of the river and help relieve traffic congestion. In addition, the funding will be used for traffic improvements and new vehicular access between the East Sprague Business District and the University District. Senator Murray helped secure $2.5 million for these projects in the recent highway reauthorization bill that was signed into law in August.

  • Washington State Produce Rail Car Program -- $1 million - There is a critical shortage of railcars for Washington farmers and agricultural shippers who need to move perishable commodities like fruit and vegetables. This project, modeled on the successful Washington Grain Train project, will restore and refurbish rail cars in order to put them in service to help address this shortage and get perishable commodities to ports and other markets. The funding secured by Senator Murray makes the project fully operational. Senator Murray secured $1 million for this project last year.