KING COUNTY: Senator Murray Secures Support for Job-Creating Projects in King County

Jul 21 2010

As Chair of Key Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Murray Wins Support for King County Economic Priorities

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Subcommittee announced that she has included funding to boost King County transportation and economic development in the Fiscal Year 2011 THUD Appropriations bill.  The funding will create construction jobs that support community projects, make critical transportation safety improvements, and improve access to local transit. 

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

“Especially now, it is critical to steer funding into transportation projects that create jobs and boost local economies in our own backyard in King County,” said Senator Murray. “This funding will go to support community projects like a regional business incubator and the expansion of the Bellevue Boys and Girls Club, and I’m committed to continue securing investments for these and other local needs.”

The following projects were included in the bill for King County:

Sound Transit, University Link LRT Extension, Seattle - $110,000,000

Sound Transit will receive funding to support the construction of the University Link light rail extension from downtown Seattle to the University of Washington. University Link is a 3.1-mile underground light rail extension from downtown Seattle to the University of Washington.

This $1.9 billion project is funded through local revenues and an $813 million Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant. This project will help relieve traffic congestion in the Puget Sound area and provide a safe and reliable form of transportation to the University of Washington.

“Sound Transit and the Puget Sound region once again thank Senator Murray for her continued commitment to building a world-class rail system,” Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl said. “The University Link project will cut through the region’s worst traffic, serve the densest neighborhoods and connect thousands of jobs at UW.”

Interstate 5 West Coast Green Highway Electrification Demonstration Project - $1,000,000

The Washington State Department of Transportation will receive funding that will provide for the construction and placement of 11 electric vehicle charging locations along the Interstate 5 corridor.

This project will provide clean transportation and emerging technologies to a regional market of 10 million consumers travelling throughout the Interstate 5 corridor. The project will also attract commuters and green-technology industries that are looking to locate or expand their business opportunities in an electric vehicle-ready region.

“This is good news for Washington as we continue our efforts of creating the nation’s first electric interstate highway,” said Gov. Chris Gregoire. “These federal funds will help our efforts to create green jobs while reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.  I thank Senator Murray for her commitment to a clean economy and her efforts to make sure we have a partner in the federal government to build the west coast green highway.”

“We appreciate Senator Murray’s dedication and unwavering support for funding transportation improvements,” said Paula Hammond, Washington Transportation Secretary. “Senator Murray has brought millions of federal transportation dollars to Washington state to help with our mission to keep people and business moving. This project will bolster Washington’s electric vehicle readiness by completing the charging infrastructure along I-5, one of our busiest highways and the backbone of Western Washington’s economy.”

West Seattle Bus Rapid Transit - $21,274,000

King County will receive funding to support RapidRide bus service, which is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2012. It will operate between West Seattle and Downtown Seattle.

In addition to improving transit service between the West Seattle area and downtown Seattle, RapidRide service through use of new hybrid buses will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and automobile dependence. This project will also remove a barrier in transit service for the elderly and disabled because the new hybrid buses have a low floor design. This design increases the safety and speed by which passengers can board and disembark, thus removing an existing impediment on the routes where these buses will be added.

“Transit use between West Seattle and downtown Seattle has increased steadily in recent years, and there is high demand for more,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “This funding will help King County deliver on our Transit Now promise to voters and bus riders with more frequent service, better passenger amenities, and more climate-friendly hybrid buses.”

South Park Bridge Replacement Project - $3,000,000

King County will receive funding to support the design and construction of a new replacement bridge immediately west of the existing South Park Bridge. Funding will also support the demolition and removal of the existing bridge and realignment of local streets located south of the bridge, and environmental improvements to the area.

“Safe, reliable bridges are part of the basic infrastructure King County residents rely on for every day travel, and the South Park Bridge replacement has been a priority for some time. This funding will help us make progress in preserving a key bridge used by more than 20,000 vehicles a day in this busy industrial corridor – a route that is vital in moving commuters and freight,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Advanced Materials in Transport Aircraft Structures - $750,000

The University of Washington will receive funding that will support and improve ongoing composite and advanced material research at the Advanced Materials in Transport Aircraft Structure Center (AMTAS) in Seattle, WA. 

The work of AMTAS will continue to provide leading research and cutting edge materials to advance aerospace design and construction in the United States.

“Since being founded in 2003, AMTAS has become an important part of the technical community within Washington State and the greater Pacific Northwest. Activities sponsored by AMTAS have included the development of composite short courses for practicing engineers, sponsoring research studies at colleges and universities, and hosting semi-annual meetings of all industrial and academic partners of AMTAS. These activities have helped insure that the Washington state workforce is well-educated and well-prepared for 21st-century jobs in engineering design and manufacturing,” said Mark E. Tuttle, Professor and Chair, Dept Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington.

Bellevue Boys and Girls Club Community Center Improvements - $500,000

Boys and Girls Clubs of Bellevue will receive funding to provide for the expansion of existing community facilities to accommodate the growing needs of very low-income residents from the Eastside Terrace, Hidden Village, and Spiritwood Manor public housing sites in east King County.

There is also a growing need for program additions to assist very low-income adult tenants in their efforts toward self-sufficiency and employment goals. A large percentage of current residents are from ethnic backgrounds where English is not their primary language and this poses a significant barrier to people looking for and obtaining jobs that pay a living wage. Additional community space is necessary in order to accommodate the growing needs for services.

“It is common knowledge that Bellevue has a great school system. What’s not commonly known is that there are very poor children in this school district that don’t get the same chances as some of their peers. Expanding the capacity at these three community centers is a chance to level that playing field,” said Kathy Haggart, President and CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Bellevue.

Eritrean Community Center Expansion - $600,000

The Eritrean Association will receive funding that will support the improvements to and expansion of the current Community Center facility with a 4,800 square foot addition in order to house the many community programs that serve families, youth, and seniors. 

The expansion will include replacement of the current program space, which is located on-site in a house that is over one hundred years old, has no central heat or plumbing, is not ADA accessible, and has been deemed structurally unsafe by the City of Seattle. The community center expansion will give the Association the ability to provide the additional services that are instrumental in improving the vitality and stability for the community and will significantly strengthen their capacity to serve more than 5,000 members with much needed community services.

“With the new expansion of the Community Center we will have the ability to provide additional services that are needed by youth, families, and seniors.  The education and cultural classes for the youth are so important in helping them stay away from gangs and become productive citizens.  Families that are struggling with cultural and social issues will be able to take parenting classes and find support in a safe environment.  Seniors, who traditionally are taken care of by extended family, will have not only a place to socialize but will also have nutritious food and exercise programs,” said Workinesh Tianen, Eritrean Association Board Member.

Jewish Family Services Facility Expansion - $800,000

Jewish Family Services will receive funding to support construction costs associated with a three-story 19,000 square foot multi-purpose social service building in the Central District/Capitol Hill area of Seattle.

Jewish Family Service, a 118-year-old social agency serving all of King County with comprehensive social services, has grown from 40 staff in 1995 to over 200 staff in 2010. Its current building cannot adequately accommodate current or future levels of program growth or demand for services.

 “For 118 years, JFS has delivered essential human services to alleviate suffering, sustain healthy relationships, and support people in times of need.  Our new building project allows us to expand capacity and accessibility so that increasing numbers of people can be served in a dignified way.  Designed specifically to reflect the Agency’s purpose, this facility will enable us to respond effectively to emergent community needs for many years to come,” said Dianne Loeb, President, Jewish Family Service Board of Directors.

Labatayah Youth Home Revitalization Project - $600,000

The United Indians of All Tribes Foundation will receive funding that will provide for major repairs and upgrades in an 80 year old facility that houses the Labateyah Youth Home Revitalization Job Training Project.  

The Labateyah Youth Home Revitalization Job Training Project will develop partnerships to provide pathways to prosperity for 60 disadvantaged homeless youth by obtaining their education through a pre-apprenticeship training program leading to long-term employment. This project will have a direct impact on one of the largest youth transitional home programs in the State of Washington.

“United Indians recognizes that our youth are our future and are thrilled to see that Senator Patty Murray agrees with us on this. The investment into both employment and youth job training into green construction for our most vulnerable population, homeless and minority youth in Seattle’s Labateyah Youth Home, speaks volumes about the integrity and respect the Senator has for Washington State’s future leaders,” said Marty Bluewater (Choctaw/Shawnee), Executive Director, United Indians of All Tribes Foundation.

Sustainable Transportation and Growth Modeling Demonstration Project - $750,000

The Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) will receive funding that will be used to develop detailed modeling of transportation systems that will incorporate land use changes, travel demand, dynamic traffic assignment, and the interactions between these systems and the larger regional economy.

“The data we can gather from this improved modeling will provide us a much better understanding of how residents of the Puget Sound region get around today and will get around in the future, allowing us to make smarter investments to grow in a more environmentally and economically sustainable manner,” said Rob Johnson, Executive Director of Transportation Choices Coalition.

South Sound Regional Business Incubator - $1,200,000

The Federal Way Chamber of Commerce will receive funding to complete the final phase of the South Sound Regional Business Incubator, which will produce innovative, self-sufficient businesses and sustainable primary jobs in perpetuity.  The federal funding will pay for facility acquisition, capital improvements and investments.

Business incubation is an important tool for economic development and job creation.  Incubators provide the critical facility infrastructure and cost-effective administrative services for entrepreneurs and small firms that perpetuate self-employment and employment for others.

“The South Sound Regional Business Incubator will be known as THE place for innovation, entrepreneurship, and job creation, and a shining example of the power of collaboration to bring about success,” said Tom Pierson, Chief Executive Officer, Federal Way Chamber of Commerce.

State Route 522 Corridor Improvements - $600,000

The City of Kenmore will receive funding to support the widening of the north and south approaches of State Route 522 and 61st Avenue NE intersection.

The project will significantly reduce delays to vehicles along the State Route 522 corridor by improving the capacity of the north and south approaches to move vehicles through the intersection. Traffic safety will be improved through the realignment of the northbound intersection approach and improving the traffic signal. The installation of a traffic signal at 61st Avenue NE and NE 181st Street will improve traffic safety and circulation within the City of Kenmore’s commercial district.

“Traffic congestion and safety on SR 522, long neglected by WSDOT and King County, were in large part the reason this community came together in 1998. Since incorporation, we have built a coalition that has committed over $50 million to complete the east end of SR 522 in Kenmore. This project will provide significant improvements to the last major unimproved intersection along the corridor within the City of

Kenmore and continue our commitment to improving the entire corridor,” said David Baker, Mayor, City of Kenmore.

SW 27th Street – Strander Connection Project - $1,000,000

The City of Renton will receive funding to support the construction of a critical east/west connection that is missing between SW 27th Street in Renton and Strander Boulevard in Tukwila, providing an alternate route to Interstate 405 between Interstate 5 and State Route 167. 

This project will promote transit oriented development and job creation where 25,000 -34,000 jobs are estimated to be located in 2030, remove 55,000 vehicles from Interstate 405 and State Route 167, eliminate 40 percent of traffic congestion on South 180th, increase use of Sounder Commuter rail, Amtrak, and other mass transit modes.

“Transportation continues to be a major challenge facing our region and it is critical that we strengthen our transportation infrastructure in order to secure our future economic growth.  This project will help foster smart growth in our region and make possible an essential future freight mobility project that will serve the Green River Valley and its countless employers, helping to improve the movement of people and goods across the region,” said Denis Law, Mayor, City of Renton.

Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle for Colman School Affordable Housing Project - $300,000

The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle will receive funding to provide for the construction of infrastructure related to the Urban League Village at Colman School. This includes the HVAC and heating systems and the electrical, sewer, water and gas delivery systems of the project.

This project has brought the arts and urban living together by combining 22,000 square feet of museum space on the ground floor with 36 affordable, rental housing units on the top two floors. These units are offered to low and mixed income earners and families with amazing views and outstanding living layouts. It continues to provide jobs and economic stimulus to the surrounding area.

“We are thrilled, excited and humbled by seeing the vision of our dreams become reality.  Without the help of so many important partners and contributors this amazing space would not have been possible.  The League is proud to have been a part of developing and building a destination location – a place of gathering, learning and celebration,” said Paul Chiles, Chairman of the Board, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle.

Aviation Futures Alliance Employment, Export and Industry Growth Analysis - $500,000

Aerospace Futures Alliance will receive funding that will support an economic analysis of the aerospace industry in Washington State, which will be presented alongside policy and industry recommendations for strengthening the industry in an annual "State of Aerospace" report.

The aerospace industry is critically important to Washington's economy, representing a workforce of approximately 70,000 people. This analysis will allow the state and the industry to be more competitive as they seek to grow their opportunities in the future.

"An economic impact analysis of the aerospace industry in Washington State will lead to better government policies and better industry practices that will help us grow in the future,” said Linda Lanham, Executive Director, Aerospace Futures Alliance (AFA).

Homeless Veterans Employment Community Voice Mail Project - $350,000

Seattle-based Community Voice Mail will receive funding to support the technology, training, support services, and evaluation necessary to implement this project, which will serve as a national model for similar work with the VA and homeless veterans in other states.

When a homeless veteran does not have a reliable way to be reached, the VA cannot provide services, information, or support effectively or efficiently. Neither can the veteran find a job, secure housing or navigate medical care. With this simple, cost-effective communication tool, the homeless veteran will continue to get messages from a potential employer, a VA doctor, a social worker, or a loved one and therefore get the services, benefits and care they need.

“Patty Murray has long championed the needs of our returning servicemen and women.  Her support for Community Voice Mail is allowing us to give thousands of homeless veterans in Washington state a chance to find a job, shelter and the health care they need,” said Jennifer Brandon, Executive Director, Community Voice Mail.