Senator Murray Delivers More Than $3 Million for Walla Walla Transportation Projects

Feb 23 2009

As Chairman of critical Senate Committee, Senator Murray includes funding to expand Highway 12 and improve mass transit in Walla Walla

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that she has included more than $3 million for transportation projects in Walla Walla in critical 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 Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Subcommittee, Senator Murray helped to include millions for important projects and programs in Yakima and Central Washington in the Omnibus bill.

"This funding is a big win for Walla Walla,” said Senator Murray. “Not only will it help to fix one of the most dangerous stretches of road in our state, it will also preserve construction jobs at a critical time. This funding will also ensure that Valley Transit can continue to serve the elderly and disabled residents that rely on it to get around each day. I'm proud to work to return Walla Walla taxpayer 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 for Walla Walla:

U.S. 12 Safety Improvements, Walla Walla County: $2,850,000
This project is the fifth of six construction phases on the corridor improvement that will upgrade the U.S.12 corridor from the Tri-Cities to Walla Walla.  Expanding U.S. 12 from two lanes to a four-lane, divided highway is critical for improving safety, fostering economic development throughout southeast Washington, and addressing growing congestion.

Valley Transit Vehicle Replacement, Walla Walla County: $368,600
This funding will enable the purchase of four 25’ minibuses, fueled with compressed natural gas (CNG). Three will replace aged vehicles and one minibus will be used to expand service. These new vehicles will enable Valley 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.

“Investment in Valley Transit’s Dial-A-Ride fleet vehicles is critically important for Valley Transit to be able to continue to meet the transportation needs of seniors and persons with disabilities in the Walla Walla Valley," said Dick Fondahn, Valley Transit General Manager. "The service area is growing, as are the numbers of retirees in our community who are looking for public transportation options. These vehicles will help us to maintain our excellent service record and also to provide service to new housing developments surrounding the cities.”