News Releases

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced critical federal funding for Tri-Cities priorities in the fiscal year 2008 Omnibus Appropriations bill.

Due to the threat of Presidential vetoes of America’s domestic spending priorities, Congress combined several appropriations bills into one large “Omnibus bill,” which should pass both houses this week.  The Omnibus package contains critical funding for national needs like transportation, homeland security, education, labor and health.

"This federal support is the seed money that helps our communities grow," said Senator Murray. "I am proud to have helped steer this funding to community-supported projects here at home.  I work everyday to ensure that even though our state's residents are 2,500 miles from D.C., their needs are up-front and center. At a time when domestic and local needs are too often being neglected, these worthy projects are getting the support they deserve."

This spending bill is expected to be cleared by the U.S. House of Representatives tonight and sent to the Senate tomorrow.

Below are the projects included for the Tri-Cities. They are separated by project type:

Energy and Water Projects

Hanford Clean-up – $1,856,037,944

DOE Office of River Protection (ORP) – $969,539,168

  • Waste Treatment Plant (WTP) – $ 683,721,000
  • Tank Farm Activities – $ 285,818,168

DOE Richland Operations Office (RL) – $886,498,776

  • Volpentest HAMMER Training and Education Center – $7,431,750
  • B Reactor - $990,900

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory – $ 64,545,000
PNNL is in the process of relocating out of facilities that are being decommissioned and demolished as part of the Hanford 300 Area cleanup.  Under a memorandum of understanding, the relocation costs to move out of 300 Area facilities will be funded by three federal agencies:  Two agencies in the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  PNNL received $49,545,000 from DOE, and $15,000,000 from DHS.

Transportation Projects

Hanford Reach Interpretive Center (The Reach) : $686,000
The Hanford Reach Interpretive Center will provide a focal point to showcase the area's rich environment and history.  The Reach will act as a gateway to the Hanford Reach National Monument. The bill includes $700,000 for the project that will be used for Phase I construction.  Funds will be used for transportation infrastructure at the site as well as restoration and trail work.

Port of Pasco: $882,000
This funding for the Port of Pasco will be used for the Big Pasco Industrial Center Intermodal Rail Hub Development Project.  The loss of barge service in Portland has forced the Port of Pasco to transform its freight center away from barge service and expand their rail and truck infrastructure.  This project will install 3,400 feet of new rail and rehabilitate 18,500 feet of existing rail to handle the current and expected volumes of intermodal and mixed-source freight coming to the Port of Pasco.  This funding will complete Phase 4 of the project.

Benton Franklin Transit (BFT):  $686,000
Senator Murray has included this funding for the BFT Vehicle Fleet Expansion and Modernization Project.  Many of the vehicles in the current fleet at BFT have gone beyond their FTA-rated life and are adding operating costs due to increased maintenance needs.  Safety concerns are also starting to arise with some of the vehicles.  BFT is the sole provider of public transportation in the Tri-Cities and mid-Columbia region and has experienced ridership growth of 10 percent since 2006.

Interior Projects

City of West Richland - $295,320
The City of West Richland is in the third and final phase to expand the North Waste Water Treatment Plant (NWWTP) to handle redirected wastewater flow from a non-compliant sewer lagoon and to comply with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit (NPDEP).  Currently the NWWTP is operating at 85 percent capacity, and the city must immediately expand the facility to meet its NPDEP requirements.  Upon completion of this expansion, West Richland will have adequate wastewater treatment capacity for the next twenty years.