CENTRAL WA: Senator Murray Secures Support for Job-Creating Projects in Central Washington

Jul 29 2009

As Chair of Key Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Murray Wins Support for Central WA Economic Priorities

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that she has included funding to boost Central Washington transportation and economic development in the Fiscal Year 2010 Senate Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill.  The funding will create construction jobs that support community projects, make critical road safety improvements, and improve access to local transit.  As Chair of the THUD Subcommittee, Senator Murray has pushed to secure federal support for local Washington state projects that create jobs and make smart investments in long-term growth. 

The key spending bill passed through the THUD Appropriations Subcommittee today, and will now move to the full Appropriations Committee for consideration.

The following projects were included in the bill for the Central Washington region:

Pybus Market and Sustainability Center Project, Wenatchee: $1,500,000

Senator Murray secured this funding to help provide for the acquisition and renovation of the Pybus building in Wenatchee, WA. The Pybus building will be home to the regional farmer’s market and the Wenatchee Food Bank and Distribution Center. This project will enhance the Wenatchee Food Bank's service to the region's low-income population and provide expanded sales opportunities and job growth for over 150 small family farms.

“This is a big victory for family farmers throughout the Wenatchee area,” said Senator Murray. “This funding will help provide a permanent home for the Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market and give local businesses economic opportunities along the waterfront. I’m proud to support projects like this that support local jobs, promote economic development, and value the history of communities like Wenatchee.”

“The Pybus Market and Sustainability Center is a key component of Wenatchee’s Waterfront Revitalization.  By keeping our $400 million waterfront development local and providing the family farm as a focal point, we truly celebrate Wenatchee’s original entrepreneurs – those who used our local lands to thrive and made us the Apple Capital of the World.  This project will ensure a new generation will have access to locally grown foods in an environment that preserves and enhances our urban landscape,” said Wenatchee Mayor Dennis Johnson.

MLK-Lincoln Avenue Railroad Grade Separation, Yakima: $2,000,000

This funding will provide for the construction of two vehicle underpasses to serve as railroad crossings across the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad Stampede Pass line as it passes through the central business district of Yakima, WA.

Currently, a train crossing through downtown Yakima simultaneously shuts down traffic on Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Lincoln Avenue.  These new crossings will improve emergency vehicle response time within the city, alleviate traffic congestion, improve pedestrian and vehicle safety and enhance regional commerce by improving both freight truck and rail mobility through the area.

“This is the single largest public works or transportation project ever undertaken by the City of Yakima, and Senator Murray’s efforts will provide benefits for generations to come in the areas of public safety and economic vitality,” said Mayor David Edler.

“When I hear the train whistle blowing, it will be nice not to worry about an emergency call for 10 minutes. This is a critical project for emergency response,” said Fire Chief Charlie Hines.

“Our staff and consultants have worked for over a decade to mitigate the impacts of increased train traffic through our city, and this represents the first significant effort in 40 years to improve vehicle and pedestrian crossing safety. It takes a champion in Congress to secure funding to build a project like this, and Senator Murray has filled that role,” said City manager Dick Zais.

YWCA Domestic Violence Center, Yakima: $300,000

This funding will provide for upgrades to the YWCA's Bringing It Home supportive housing project for victims of domestic violence in Yakima, WA.

The completion of this supportive housing project will create over 30 transitional and emergency shelter housing units, providing the first and only housing assistance to victims of domestic violence in the greater Yakima community.

“Daily, we at the YWCA see the broken bones, broken hearts, and broken lives resulting from the violence.  We are dedicated in empowering these courageous women to rebuild their lives and break the devastating cycle of violence,” said Donna Hatten, YWCA of Yakima Director of Projects.

Beaudry Road Crossing and Pathway Project, Yakima County: $600,000

This funding will construct a new pedestrian overpass over Beaudry Road to connect local Elementary, Middle and High School campuses, Administrative buildings and recreational fields.

This safety enhancement will protect over 200 staff and students every day who use this growing transportation corridor to access local schools, and ease congestion into downtown Yakima.

“Our legislators’ support of this project reaffirms the county’s efforts to enhance the safety and mobility of students, motorists, and the general public along this important corridor,” said Gary Ekstedt, P.E., County Road Engineer

Kittitas Highway Safety Improvements, Kittitas County: $2,000,000

This funding will provide for safety improvements on Kittitas Highway between Ellensburg and Kittitas by widening the road and adding safety pullouts, turn lanes at major intersections and bike lanes.

This project will increase the capacity for farm-to-market freight movement in the region and will improve the safety of both motorized and non-motorized traffic between these two population and employment centers.

“This project will complete critical safety elements for county residents and visitors on the most traveled high speed county road on our system. The project will use cutting edge technologies designed to clearly delineate areas of historical concerns to give the traveling project a safe traveling experience,” said Kirk Holmes, Kittitas County Public Works Director

Link Transit Vehicle Acquisition, Chelan and Douglas Counties: $2,300,000

This funding would allow Link Transit to complete the purchase of eight 40-foot low floor commuter buses and one 35-foot urban bus.

The completion of this procurement would allow Link Transit to expand transit services to seven days per week and expand current operating hours, providing low-income citizens living in the urban cores of Wenatchee and East Wenatchee increased access to rural employment opportunities.