News Releases

Congress rejected President Trump’s attempt to axe infrastructure program, instead triples the TIGER grant program to $1.5 billion

Spending bill also funds Capital Investment Grant program at $2.6 billion, highest level ever—and invests in Amtrak, Positive Train Control, regional airports

Senator Murray: “These investments are critically important for communities that are working to tackle their biggest infrastructure challenges”

(Washington, D.C.)  – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced a new spending bill includes significant increases to transportation programs she championed during the last several months of negotiations, from programs that help communities carry out projects, to investments to increase rail safety measures, such as Positive Train Control. A full list of the programs are below.

“Communities across our state and around the country want to move forward on transformational projects to ease congestion, increase safety, and help regional economies grow, and the federal government should be a good partner in this effort,” Senator Murray said. “I’m glad my colleagues joined me in rejecting President Trump’s attempt to curtail investments in these programs, and I will continue to fight for critical infrastructure investments that make a real difference to families and communities.”

Transportation programs included in new federal spending bill:

  • TIGER grant program: $1.5 billion, matching the highest ever funding in a single year.

Since Sen. Murray created the TIGER program in 2009, it has awarded $5.6 billion to help facilitate 462 projects in every state in the country, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. Of that total, Washington state has received $248 million to support 17 projects, including the Barker Road grade separation in Spokane Valley, Tacoma LINK expansion, a new ferry terminal in Mukilteo, the North Spokane Corridor, the Mercer Corridor Redevelopment project in Seattle, the South Park Bridge Replacement in King County, the West Vancouver Freight Access project at the Port of Vancouver, improvements to I-5 to relieve congestion around Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and terminal modernization projects at the Ports of Seattle and Everett.

  • Capital Investment Grant Program: $2.6 billion, highest ever annual appropriation and rejecting President Trump’s budget proposal to block new transit projects from receiving funding, including Sound Transit’s Lynnwood Link Extension.
  • Buses and Bus Facilities Program: $400 million in new funding to ensure transit agencies in Washington state and throughout the nation can support critical bus and bus facility investments and provide safe and reliable transit services.
  • Amtrak: $1.3 billion to support Amtrak’s National Network including long-distance routes, like the Coast Starlight and Empire Builder that run through Washington and which President Trump sought to terminate, including $50 million for railroad safety technology, like Positive Train Control implementation on state-supported routes like the Cascades.
  • Rail Safety: $592.5 million for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement grants, including $250 million for Positive Train Control implementation.
  • Crude-by-rail Safety Initiatives:
    • $16.5 million for the Automated Track Inspection Program,
    • $2.5 million for the Short Line Safety Institute for safety training for short line railroads transporting crude oil and ethanol, a program Sen. Murray helped create in 2014,
    • $2 million for tank car research activities, and
    • Directs the U.S. Department of Transportation to complete a rulemaking to expand comprehensive oil spill response plan requirements to rail carriers no later than 5 days after enactment of this bill to better protect the safety of our communities and environment.
  • FAA Center of Excellence for Alternative Jet Fuels and Environment, led by Washington State University: $15 million, which is a $4 million increase.  
  • Contract Tower Program, which supports seven airports in Washington – Bellingham International, Felts Field (Spokane), Olympia, Renton, Tacoma Narrows, Walla Walla Regional, and Yakima: $165 million.
  • The bill also prevents the FAA from eliminating the Contract Weather Observers program at any airport, including Spokane International Airport.
  • Small Shipyards: $20 million, which is a $10 million increase, for assistance to small shipyards grants to support infrastructure improvements and equipment upgrades at small shipyards.