News Releases

Senator Murray Delivers Millions for Tri-Cities Transportation Projects

Jul 10 2008

As Chairman of critical Senate Committee, Senator Murray includes funding to build roads, bolster tourism, and improve mass transit facilities in the Tri-Cities

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that she has included over $3,550,000 for Tri-Cities transportation projects 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.

"The Tri-Cities region has unique transportation needs that need to be addressed in order to keep residents and the local economy moving," said Senator Murray. "This bill makes targeted investments in projects that encourage job growth, promote tourism, and support mass transit in the Tri-Cities. With gas prices at record-highs, local governments strapped for cash, and economic growth being threatened, communities need a boost from the federal government. I'm proud to work to return Tri-Cities residents' federal tax dollars to projects in their own backyard."

The THUD Appropriations bill was approved in Senator Murray's THUD Committee on Tuesday and is expected to be approved by the full Appropriations Committee today. It will then move to the Senate floor.

The following projects were included in the bill in the Tri-Cities region:

Steptoe Street Extension Project, City of Richland and Kennewick: $2,000,000

Steptoe Street is on the border between Kennewick and Richland. The extension will serve as a key transportation link for communities in both cities. When it is completed, it will provide an essential transportation corridor between 10th Avenue and Gage Boulevard and will also provide a vital connection between I-82 and SR 240. The project is a vital component to local economic diversification efforts and new job creation in the area.

"This project is the most regionally significant project for Kennewick, Richland and the surrounding areas," said Kennewick Mayor James R. Beaver. "No other project is currently planned that has the potential for economic stimulus and improved mobility as the extension of Steptoe Street.  It will stimulate the creation of thousands of jobs and ultimately benefit, not just Kennewick and Richland, but all of southeastern Washington."

Maintenance Facility Construction, Benton/Franklin Counties: $1,350,000

The expansion of the maintenance building will give Ben Franklin Transit (BFT) six additional working bays. These bays will be designed for the smaller vehicles in the BFT fleet. This ability to separate between the larger buses and smaller vehicles will give BFT additional efficiencies in the use of the building.

“The completion of the facility project is absolutely necessary in order for Ben Franklin Transit to be able to provide public transportation services as efficiently and effectively as possible," said Tim Fredrickson, General Manager, Ben Franklin Transit. "It should be understood by all of the people that benefit from public transportation in the Mid-Columbia region and the Tri-Cities that Senator Murray’s help in this endeavor is greatly appreciated.”

B-Reactor Access Road Analysis Project, Hanford Site: $200,000

This funding will begin the process of designing a public access road from Highway 240 at Vernita to B-Reactor, the world’s first nuclear reactor. A public access road will greatly increase the tours and visitors to B-Reactor which will be an economic benefit to the Tri-Cities and Benton County.