Senator Murray Delivers Millions for Olympia in 2009 Spending Bill

Feb 23 2009

Murray includes funding to improve public transportation, connect neighborhoods, expand health care availability and build the area's health care workforce in yearly Appropriations bill

-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 Olympia 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 in Olympia 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 and save jobs and address local needs. This funding will improve public transportation, expand health care services, and address our state’s nursing shortage. I'm proud to work to return Olympia 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.

Senator Murray worked to include funding for the following projects in the Olympia region:

Intercity Transit Intermodal Facility Project, Intercity Transit: $2,232,500
This funding will construct additional bus loading and customer support facilities at the downtown Olympia Transit Center to support local, regional and interstate bus services. By integrating public and commercial transit services, riders will gain easier, more convenient access to local, regional and interstate bus services, further encouraging individuals to leave their single-occupant vehicles at home and use public transportation, ultimately reducing traffic congestion, fuel consumption and air pollution.

"We are grateful to Senator Patty Murray for her assistance in obtaining this grant," according to Mike Harbour, General Manager for Intercity Transit.  "This project will allow travelers and commuters of our region greater access to public transportation options; thus helping to reduce congestion, improving quality of life and providing great benefits to the environment."

Woodland Trail Project, City of Lacey: $475,000
The Woodland Trail project is a key link in the Thurston County urban trail network and an important element of the area's regional commute trip reduction strategy. This new trail intersects the Chehalis Western Trail and is a continuation of the Olympia Woodland Trail. These interconnecting trails serve thousands of residents by providing commute alternatives to employment and city centers and recreational opportunities for pedestrians and bicyclists.

"The City of Lacey is extremely grateful to Senator Murray for her ability to secure funds for the Woodland Trail Regional Development Project," said Lacey Mayor Graeme Sackrison. "The Project is a key link in the Thurston County urban trail network and an important element of the area's regional commute trip reduction strategy.  Senator Murray’s assistance will help the City and its funding partners complete this important community asset and improve the quality of life for thousands in our community."

Emergency Department Care Coordination Program, CHOICE Regional Health Network - $333,000
Since its inception in 2003, CHOICE’s Emergency Department Care Coordination Program (EDCCP) has worked to reduce inappropriate use of hospital emergency departments and improve health among the patients who use the program. The funds that Senator Murray provided will help fund the CHOICE program at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Thurston County and expand it to hospitals in Grays Harbor, Mason and Lewis Counties.  The CHOICE Regional Network, a non-profit consortium is dedicated to improving the health of 93,000 poor and working-poor Washington state residents.

Senator Murray has long supported in its efforts to continue and expand outreach and coordination efforts for the uninsured. In 2004, Senator Murray helped to secure $175,000 in grant funding under the Health Community Access Program (CAP) for the CHOICE Regional Network.

"This funding will help support the CHOICE Network's proven program of reducing emergency room visits and improving health care among Olympia's uninsured residents," said Senator Murray. "It will also help to improve health care availability and keep costs down for all residents in the area."

Providence Health Systems - $95,000
This funding will help create a Nursing Education to Practice Bridge Program to retain registered nurses in the workforce. The Bridge program will provide new registered nurses additional learning opportunities for a better transition from education to professional practice. New registered nurses experience significant amounts of stress when faced with the high expectations of hiring hospitals compared to the training received during education.  These unresolved stressors and disappointment in their first professional experience result in 35%-55% turnover rates during the first two years of professional practice. Additional learning and mentoring opportunities can enhance patient safety and reduce turnover rates to 12% or less in the first year.

"This program will help us to address our state's nursing shortage by providing support services to help avoid burn out among new nurses," said Senator Murray. "New graduate registered nurses face an extraordinary challenge when transitioning from education to professional practice and this funding will provide the mentoring and support they need to make it through."

"This is a demonstration project that will lay the groundwork for similar programs at other hospitals,” said Providence Southwest Service Area Chief Executive Scott Bond. “The central goal of improving the transition from the role of student to professional will contribute to the skill development and job satisfaction for our nurses."