Murray Protects Southwest Washington Transportation Priorities in Senate Omnibus Spending Bill

Jan 23 2003

Secures funds for Columbia Gorge air quality study and Klickitat County treatment plant

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - In the face of $10 billion in cuts to the eleven appropriations bills passed by the Senate last year, Senator Patty Murray today announced that she has successfully protected funding for Washington state's key transportation priorities in the Omnibus Appropriations bill. The full Senate passed the Omnibus bill 69-29.

Working with her Republican counterpart on the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Murray retained the funding levels for Washington state projects that she had previously secured in the Senate's fiscal year (FY) 2003 Transportation spending bill.

"Working in a bipartisan fashion, and facing cuts across the board, I am pleased to have maintained federal funding for Washington state's urgent transportation needs," Senator Murray said. "This federal support will help ease congestion and improve safety by investing in public transportation, highways and other critical transportation infrastructure across Washington state."

In addition to the earmarked funding, Washington state will also receive hundreds of millions of dollars in federal highway and transit formula funding. Washington state will receive $503.6 million in Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) grants and $101 million in Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grants to address transportation issues throughout the state.

"Our national and regional economy is hurting, but cutting funding for key transportation projects would only do more damage. We must do all that we can to keep jobs and businesses in Washington state," Murray continued.

Transportation Earmarks for Southwest Washington:

Small Bus System Grant- Pacific Transit
($96,000) This funding will replace two 25-foot buses. Replacing these vehicles with new models is critical to reducing emissions and pollutants and increasing safety.

Cowlitz/Whahkiakum Counties, Lexington Bridge Project ($7.5 million) This funding will help construct a bridge that crosses the Cowlitz River between Interstate 5 at milepost 42 and the Sparks Drive/State Route 411 (SR 411) intersection in the Lexington area that is north of the cities of Kelso and Longview.

Transportation Earmarks for Clark County:

SW 1st/NW Lake Road Project
($ 3 million) This project will help the City of Camas begin planning to expand and improve this roadway.

C-Tran, Vancouver Mall Transit Center ($2.7 million) This project will help purchase and upgrade the existing site to reduce annual maintenance costs to ensure future operations.

Mill Plain Boulevard at I-205 ($3.5 million) This funding will support improvements to the interchange and the portion of I-205 between the Columbia River and NE 83rd Street. These renovations are expected to relieve congestion.

Maritime Fire and Safety Association ($312,000) This funding will help support the Marine Fire and Safety Association (MFSA), which provides critical fire, oil and toxic spill response and clean-up capability in the Lower Columbia River.

Other Earmarks for Southwest Washington

Senator Murray was also instrumental in securing additional funding in the Omnibus bill to study air quality in the Columbia Gorge and to help the Klickitat County PUD build a new sewage treatment facility, saving local taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Columbia Gorge Air Quality Study $675,000 This grant will provide funding for a $1.8 million study on air quality in the Columbia Gorge, which is being degraded by regional haze, acid rain and ground-level ozone. In August of 2001, the Columbia River Gorge Commission unanimously approved the plan for the study, which includes conducting air quality monitoring, developing an emissions inventory, conducting air quality modeling, and performing final analysis.

Klickitat County PUD New Sewage Treatment Plant $1,485,000 The requested funds will allow the PUD to replace a 46 year old treatment plant while maintaining affordable sewer rates for town residents, protecting the Klickitat Wild and Scenic River, and providing a vital part of the infrastructure needed for economic development. Without this funding, residents' sewer rates will triple to approximately $95 per month. Klickitat County has the highest unemployment rate in the state at 17.1 percent unemployment, and many residents have low incomes.