WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, announced that multiple federal grants totaling tens of millions of dollars were awarded to Washington state to help fund key local and regional infrastructure priorities. Awarded through the Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grants program, the majority of the funding—$17.75 million—will go to help construct a new cargo terminal at the Port of Everett, while an additional grant of $5.8 million was awarded to the City of Ridgefield for the completion of its Pioneer Street Extension project and another grant of $5 million was awarded to both Washington state and Oregon to replace the long-standing Hood River-White Salmon Interstate Bridge.
“This funding couldn’t come more quickly to help make sure vital transportation and economic priorities for our state—like building a new cargo terminal at the Port of Everett—don’t get sidelined as our communities work overtime and expend every resource to keep people safe during this pandemic,” Senator Murray said.
The grant for the Port of Everett will help build a new cargo terminal on the previous site of the Kimberly-Clark mill property. The construction of the North Terminal would expand Container-on-Barge (COB) service to the region, limiting the amount of trucks on the congested interstates between Everett and the ports of Tacoma and Seattle while reducing shipping costs and diesel emissions. Additionally, the project will help restore the brownfield property back to productive use, and the new terminal will support and enhance maritime commerce for the region, whose economy and growth is connected to international trade and the movement of goods.
“This $17.75 million federal investment is a huge win for the Port of Everett and Snohomish County,” Senator Cantwell said. “The project will provide new investment in the local economy and increase the port’s onsite capacity by 33 acres, allowing more product to move more efficiently throughout the region and helping the port’s efforts to become a strategic seaport.”
Another federal award to the City of Ridgefield for the Pioneer Street Expansion project will be used to create a new four-lane road, expanding and extending Pioneer Street, that will establish more direct access to I-5 and increase accessibility to the Ridgefield Junction; the area is home to a mix of commercial and industrial lands that currently can only be accessed by narrow, deteriorating roads that create significant safety risks for vehicles and drivers. Additionally, the project would open 820 acres of underutilized land in Clark County for economic development.
“Workers and companies throughout our state rely on our infrastructure to move their products to market and get to work. Ridgefield is one of the fastest-growing communities in Washington state, and these federal dollars will help the city improve its transportation infrastructure to attract new investment in the community, create new jobs, and improve passenger vehicle safety and freight mobility,” Senator Cantwell said about the award.
The last award, split between the states of Washington and Oregon, will go toward replacing the Hood River-White Salmon Interstate Bridge, which was originally constructed in 1924 and has become functionally obsolete over time, including lacking proper shoulders, bicycle and pedestrian access, and travel lanes. Replacing the current bridge, which has a low sufficiency rating of less than 48, will benefit economic productivity and quality of life in Southwest Washington.
Added Senator Murray: “I will continue pushing in the Appropriations process to make sure programs like the BUILD program keep working like they should, and fighting to push critical federal assistance to important infrastructure projects in Southwest Washington and every corner of our state.”
Created in 2009 by Senator Murray as the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program, the DOT’s BUILD program invests in important road, rail, transit, and port projects, including Washington state’s ferry terminal in Mukilteo and modernization projects at the Port of Everett. Senator Murray has advocated for federal investments in these critical Washington state projects to the Department of Transportation, including writing letters of support, and as a member of the Appropriations Committee has routinely fought against the Trump Administration’s attempts to slash funding for the program. Senator Cantwell has also been a strong advocate for federal investments in Washington state projects, writing letters of support and advocating for infrastructure investment in her role on the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. In 2015, Cantwell authored the INFRA grant program to invest in railway, seaport, and highway freight mobility projects to increase efficiency and safety and reduce congestion. Since being signed into law the program has invested millions of dollars in projects throughout Washington state.