Murray Secures Economic Development, Environmental and Public Safety Funding for Washington in Omnibus

Jan 22 2004

Senator leads effort to pass Omnibus and save Washington state initiatives

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- Today, the United States Senate adopted the Omnibus Appropriations funding measure to fund seven appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2004.

Senator Murray joined with Democrats and Republicans to break a filibuster and approve the final appropriations measure for the fiscal year that began almost four months ago. The Omnibus now goes to the White House for the President’s certain approval.

"Like many, I had serious reservations about several provisions in the omnibus appropriations bill. The fight to overturn the attack on overtime and other issues is not over. But I know what's at stake here and it is time to move on," Senator Murray said. "I voted to fund our federal responsibility to education, health care, job training and veterans. And I voted to help our state as it seeks to move forward with job creation and economic development."

Senator Murray is a senior member of the Appropriations Committee. The omnibus appropriations measure funds numerous Washington state economic development, environmental and public safety initiatives championed by Senator Murray. "I am excited about these projects because they were brought to me by local officials and all of them have an economic development component," Senator Murray said.

Funding by Region:

Statewide | Puget Sound | NW | Eastern | Central


Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, Public Building Mapping System $250,000

During a school incident, such as the one that occurred at Columbine High School in Colorado, first responders need access to school floor plans, known hazards and evacuation plans. In 2001, the Washington State Legislature appropriated funds to facilitate a building mapping system for various schools in Washington state. It has been very successful. Its success, however, has caused state and local government leaders to request a building mapping system for all public buildings, not just schools. In order to initiate the public building mapping system, the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) must first establish the central site. The funds provided by Senator Murray will allow the project to go forward.

Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission $350,000

The Washington State Tribes and the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Coordinated Water Quality Program - an EPA/Tribal partnership - has provided a forum for continuous and meaningful communication between tribes, state and federal agencies. It has generated successful state/federal partnerships to improve water quality and has helped fulfill the federal government's trust obligation to tribes.

Methamphetamine Program for Washington State $2 million

Washington state is combating the meth explosion through an intensive and pro-active approach to attack the meth problem at every level. This funding will assist the effort conducted by several counties and cities throughout Washington state. The Washington state program includes the following components: intelligence, enforcement and prosecution, investigation and forensics, public health and ecology, professional training, community education and prevention, and family treatment services.


Maury Island Land Conservation, Maury Island $2 million

The bill provides $2 million toward one of the missing links in the salmon cycle: protection of key habitat lands along Puget Sound. This funding contributes to the goal of preserving up to 250 acres of rural, coastal land on Maury Island, some of which is currently threatened by gravel extraction activities. Protection of this property has been identified as a key to the Maury Island Conservation Initiative, an effort to preserve one of the state=s largest Madrona forests, and nearly one mile of shoreline habitat that is critical to salmon, cutthroat trout, herring and bottomfish.

Project proponents are seeking additional matching funds from local, state and private sources. The acquisition partnership is structuring an innovative future ownership configuration to promote high-quality, cost-effective, local stewardship with stakeholders including: Vashon- Maury Island Land Trust, county and state agencies, and Cascade Land Conservancy.

Bainbridge Island Land Conservation, Bainbridge Island $2 million

The bill provides $3 million to protect land on Bainbridge Island. The funding will be part of an effort to acquire a 22 acre site that includes over 3,000 feet of shoreline on Eagle Harbor and Puget Sound. Much of this shoreline is important habitat for smelt which is an important food for endangered salmon. The site also has significant historical importance as it was the location of the former Eagledale Ferry Terminal, which served as the debarkation point for the islands Japanese-American community as they were sent off to Manzanar Internment Camp during World War II. The site is being considered by the National Park Service for its national historic significance. The City of Bainbridge Island hopes to make the area a waterfront park.

The Compass Center, Seattle $515,000

The funding will help the Compass Center's campaign to expand and rehabilitate its existing building in Pioneer Square which sustained around $2 million in damage during the Nisqually earthquake. This work will greatly increase the capacity of the Center to serve the homeless needs in the city. The Center currently provides 80 people a warm, safe place to stay each night, as well as a hygiene center and the only bank for the homeless in Seattle.

Lutheran Community Services, SeaTac $300,000

This funding is for the construction of a new building and facility that will provide critical services for those in South King County. The services will include childcare; counseling and referral services to the immigrant and refugee community; a family support center; a medical clinic to serve low-income, Medicaid, and under-insured people; home care services to assist with in independent living; and mental health counseling. South King County is greatly lacking in these type of services despite the fact that the area includes the County=s highest unemployment claims and is home to fifty percent of the County's population who receive public assistance.

Vashon Sewer District, Vashon Island $450,000

This funding will help the Vashon Sewer District address significant debt incurred while undertaking two major projects to provide wastewater treatment for neighborhoods which had been declared Public Health Hazards. Both neighborhoods were impacting Puget Sound and there were minimal options for new systems. Costs of the projects doubled from original estimates requiring the District to incur millions in debt. This has resulted in monthly sewer assessments ranging from $285 to $500 per household. The federal funding will help reduce these monthly assessments.


Northwest Straits Commission (CJSJ) $750,000 Senator Murray created the Northwest Straits Commission with legislation in 1998 in response to growing concerns about the declining health of marine ecosystems in the Northwest region of the state. This grassroots effort involves representatives from county, tribal, state and federal governments, non-profit organizations and volunteers who are working together to protect and restore marine resources in northern Puget Sound. These funds will enable the Northwest Straits Commission to continue its cooperative work throughout the Puget Sound area.

WSU Extension Service Beach Watchers $250,000 The WSU Beach Watchers Program is a volunteer driven organization focused on protecting and raising awareness about marine resources in Island County, Washington. Beach Watchers is managed by the WSU Cooperative Extension Program. The program's emphasis is stewardship education, but volunteers have also gathered near shore habitat data for use by local planners. This funding will allow expansion of this program into Clallam, Jefferson, Snohomish, Skagit, San Juan and Whatcom Counties.

Similk Beach Community Sewer System Improvements Skagit Valley Public Utility District (VA-HUD) $750,000 This State Tribal Assistance Grant (STAG) funding will fund 117 new connections to the community's sewer system to eliminate failing septic systems as well as allow the commercial and sport shellfish industry an opportunity to recover. The project will eliminate the source of a documented health and environmental hazard. Many of the beneficiaries of this project will be elderly and low-income residents who can least afford significant increases in utility bills.

Southern Resident Killer Whale Research $1.5 million The Southern Resident population of killer whales, which consists of three pods, resides in Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Georgia Strait from late spring to early fall. The rest of the year they travel along the west coast, but their activities during this time are not well understood. The population of Southern Resident killer whales has declined 20 percent from 1996 to 2001, from 97 whales to only 78. These funds will fund National Marine Fisheries Service research into vessel impacts, year round distribution of the population, year round studies of prey resources and the effects of pollution on the Southern Resident Killer Whale population.


Wellpinit School District Wellpinit, Washington $1 million

The Wellpinit School District, located on the Spokane Indian Reservation, will use these funds to establish an Advanced Placement Virtual College Classroom in cooperation with the University of Washington and NASA Ames Research Center. Through this program, the Wellpinit School will provide enhanced science, mathematics, and technology literacy to its student body. Classrooms will be equipped with independent workstations, digital blackboards, a conference table, and webcams. In addition, state-of-the-art holographic projection devices will allow students and guest lecturers from NASA and educational institutions to interact in an enhanced virtual environment. This grant will allow the Wellpinit School to continue its progress in educating and creating opportunities for Native American students.

West Central Community Center Spokane, Washington $500,000

The West Central Community Center will use these funds to construct a 17,000 square foot addition to an existing facility that will add 104 slots of full-day Head Start and childcare services. This project will help create critical childcare, healthcare and skill development infrastructure that will provide parents with resources to help them become economically independent. This project has already received $600,000 in State funding.

City of Spokane Spokane, Washington $600,000

These funds will enable the City of Spokane to upgrade the Law Enforcement Information System that covers the City and all of Spokane County. The funds will support the development of an integrated data system for management and communication among multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional entities allowing information systems to handle a broader array of crimes including ID theft-document fraud.

The Okanogan County Incubator Project Okanogan, Washington $250,000

The Economic Alliance will use these funds to construct a 20,000 square foot incubator building in Omak, Washington with eight bays and eight offices for light industrial business development. It is estimated that within the first two years more than 50 jobs will be created or retained in Okanogan County. The Incubator Project offers an opportunity to diversify the local economy.

Columbia Basin Groundwater Management Area

Adams, Grant and Franklin Counties, Washington

This project develops and implements locally-driven solutions to address ground water quality in areas of documented nitrate concern. This is the fifth consecutive year of funding for this important local project.


Senator Murray's Central Washington economic development, environmental and public safety projects are listed below:

Hope Home - Pasco, Washington $200,000 Hope Home will use these funds to purchase and renovate a home to house pregnant teens in the Tri-Cities area. The Tri-Cities has the highest teen pregnancy rate in Washington state. Hope Home does not currently have a home for pregnant teens. Local funds have been raised to complement federal funds to purchase and operate this facility.

Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center Prosser, Washington $250,000

These federal funds will go towards completing the construction of the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center. The Washington Wine industry has gone through a major expansion and is a bright spot in the Central Washington economy. The project will create 14 direct jobs and will contribute to hundreds of additional jobs in the wine industry. The State of Washington and the wine industry have also made significant contributions to this project.

The Okanogan County Incubator Project Okanogan, Washington $250,000

The Economic Alliance will use these funds to construct a 20,000 square foot incubator building in Omak, Washington with eight bays and eight offices for light industrial business development. It is estimated that within the first two years, more than 50 jobs will be created or retained in Okanogan County. The Incubator Project offers an opportunity to diversify the local economy.

Wastewater Plant Improvement Project Sunnyside, Washington $1 million

These funds will go towards completion of this two-phase $11 million project. The City of Sunnyside is considered a low-income community and these funds will moderate rate increases for low-income wastewater users. This project serves the broad public interest and is intended to bring the community-wide Wastewater Facility Treatment Plant up to a federal water quality compliance level.

Columbia Basin Groundwater Management Area - Adams, Grant and Franklin Counties, Washington $700,000

This project develops and implements locally-driven solutions to improve ground water quality in areas of documented nitrate concern. This is the fifth consecutive year of funding for this important local project.

Height Modernization/Washington Central Washington University $500,000

National Height Modernization is an effort to improve the latitude, longitude, and height systems used throughout the country by relying on the Global Positioning System satellites. This system will improve disaster planning, coastal and harbor navigation, road and building construction, aircraft navigation, enhanced agricultural practices and earthquake and volcano hazard assessment. Central Washington University will participate in this work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as well as state and local organizations throughout the country.