Senator Murray Delivers Millions for Olympic Peninsula in 2009 Spending Bill

Feb 23 2009

-Funding will create and save local jobs-

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that she has included millions in funding for projects in the Olympic Peninsula region in yearly spending legislation. The funding is included in the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which provides funding for most federal government programs and targeted community projects for Fiscal Year 2009. The Omnibus bill is separate from the Economic Recovery bill passed by Congress and enacted by Barack Obama last week. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Murray helped to include millions for important projects and programs throughout the Olympic Peninsula in the Omnibus bill. 

"We are investing in Main Street again," said Senator Murray. "In the face of a deepening recession, this bill puts federal funding back into our communities where it can create jobs and address local needs. This funding will improve transportation, update area health services, and invest in improving higher education in the Olympic Peninsula. I'm proud to work to return Peninsula residents' tax dollars to projects in their own backyard."

The 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill will fund projects for the remainder of the 2009 Fiscal Year which runs until September 30th, 2009. The federal government is currently operating under spending levels passed for Fiscal Year 2008 because President Bush refused to sign many 2009 spending bills last year and Congress was forced to pass a continuing resolution. The 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill was unveiled today and is expected to be passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in the coming weeks.

The following projects were included in the bill in the Olympic Peninsula region (KITSAP COUNTY PROJECTS ALSO INCLUDED BELOW):

Port Industrial Road Improvement Project, Port of Grays Harbor: $3,800,000
This infrastructure investment is a critical component to enhancing the Port’s ability to attract new business.  Specifically, it will replace roadway, improve traffic flow, relieve congestion, increase roadway capacity and freight movement and increase vehicle and pedestrian safety along the entire corridor.  Construction of two-way left turn lanes and turn pockets will remove turning vehicles from through lanes, improving traffic flow. In addition, new sidewalks would allow for safe pedestrian traffic in the area as employers are finding more and more workers walking and bicycling to work due to rising gas costs.

“Providing a safe, efficient freight corridor for the movement of goods and people is the top priority of the Port of Grays Harbor and the more than 55 companies we serve within this corridor,” said Port of Grays Harbor Commission President Stan Pinnick.

Squaxin Island Access Improvement Project, Squaxin Island Tribe: $1,045,000
The Arcadia Boat Ramp is one of the most heavily used commercial and recreational launching sites in South Puget Sound. The proposed project will include design and replacement of the Arcadia Boat Ramp and other critical improvements to the facility essential to for the economic growth or the Tribe and Mason County.  

“The Arcadia Boat Ramp project has been a goal of the Squaxin Island Tribe for many years," said   Raymond Peters, Executive Director of the Squaxin Island Tribe. "This facility is the primary launching for Tribal fishermen, shellfish harvesters and Commercial Growers such as Taylor Shellfish who rely on these fishing and shellfish industries as their sole source of income.  This project will provide improved accessed to tribal and shellfish areas.”

Skokomish Tribe Reservation Road Improvements, Skokomish Tribe: $1,330,000
This project includes installation of sidewalks, pathways, and lighting aimed at enhancing safety for pedestrians between residences and the State Park, across US 101, and for school children between their homes and schools.  Reservation Road is a school bus route and these road improvements will improve safety and reduce the likelihood of accidents.

U.S. 101 Safety Improvements at Deer Park, Clallam County: $931,000
The US 101 at Deer Park Overpass Project seeks to comprehensively address all major traffic safety issues related to this US 101 intersection area that produced four fatalities in five years by construction of a two way vehicle and pedestrian overpass. The project will help fund a US 101 overpass at Deer Park that will improve a primary access road to Olympic National Park and eliminate all of the dangerous left turn movements.

“Construction of the US 101 Overpass at Deer Park will greatly reduce the chance for injury accidents in the Deer Park corridor where County residents have suffered fatality accidents in the past," said Ross Tyler, Clallam County Engineer. "The project will also facilitate job growth as access to commercial areas on both sides of US 101 will be enhanced.”

Clallam Transit Vehicle Replacement, Clallam County: $286,900
This funding will enable the purchase of one 35’ low-floor bus to replace an aged vehicle. This new vehicle will enable Clallam Transit to continue providing critical regional rural bus services to meet rural and intercity mobility needs, including those of the elderly and disabled, and people needing access to basic services and job centers.

Olympic Medical Center - $714,000
This funding will go toward an electronic medical records/practice management system for the Olympic Medical Center. Olympic Medical Center will fund the first phase of this project this year by committing approximately $930,000 of their own funding. The funding Senator Murray has included today will help continue the project. The new system will allow Olympic Medical center to share electronic charts, electronic prescribing, health maintenance, interface in-house and community systems and facilitate the delivery of better and safer patient care. This will enable them to treat more patients, reduce time needed to process labs, charts, billing, scheduling and reduce the risk of costly mistakes. 

"This funding will go to implementing a new records management system that will allow Olympic Medical Center to improve safety, keep down costs and ensure access," said Senator Murray. "With Olympic Medical Center set to serve a great number of local seniors in the coming years - many of whom will have extensive medical records - it's important that we address this problem now."

“With Olympic Medical’s Community Electronic Medical Records Connection (EMR), Clallam County and area medical care providers will be better able to facilitate services, enhance superior quality and patient safety and save costs for patients, providers and payers," says Rhonda Curry, assistant administrator. "It will be better able to facilitate patient services, provide improved services and save both the patient and the healthcare providers’ costs.  It will be incredibly valuable for our community.  Olympic Medical Center has committed over $930,000 to get the project off the ground in 2008”

Peninsula College - $476,000
The recently opened Peninsula College Science & Technology Building houses science, computer, and technology labs and classrooms to support regional workforce and economic development.  The facility currently lacks the laboratory and technology equipment to ensure that local students are prepared for a 21st Century workforce.  This funding will go to purchase and install lab equipment for the building. 

"Peninsula College's new Science and Technology Building is just the type of facility we need to better prepare our young people for today's workplace," said Senator Murray. "This funding will help equip the labs and classrooms there with the tools and hands-on training needed to build science and technology skills and better prepare the community's young people for college and successful careers.”

“To ensure quality education for our students and economic growth for our community, students and faculty must have access to crucial laboratory and classroom equipment in support of science and technology programs," said Dr. Thomas Keegan, Peninsula College President. "These tools are central to PC’s ability to prepare students for successful transfer to the university level and for viable careers in the North Olympic Peninsula’s evolving workplace.”

Kitsap Transit Rich-Passage Wake Impact Study, Kitsap County: $2,137,500
The project is part of a multi-year wake-research effort, focused on one of the most wake-sensitive parts of Puget Sound, the gap between the South Kitsap mainland and Bainbridge Island known as Rich Passage. The project’s ultimate goal is address the environmental concerns and challenges related to passenger-only fast ferry service through Rich Passage. Eventually, these research efforts will culminate into a viable high speed passenger-only fast ferry option that will link Bremerton and downtown Seattle in approximately 30 minutes.