WASHINGTON – A sweeping spending bill unveiled Wednesday on Capitol Hill includes hundreds of millions of dollars for Washington state for everything from military construction at Fort Lewis to new ferries, security along the Canadian border and repairing a landslide-damaged road.
It also includes money for methamphetamine programs, the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Commission, gang prevention in Pierce County, development of fuel-efficient small-city buses made with composites at Western Washington University and $80 million for salmon recovery.
“This package invests where we need help the most right now – in jobs and our communities,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee helped negotiate the bill.
The $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill combines six routine appropriations bills that provide funding for nine Cabinet agencies ranging from the State Department to the Transportation Department to the Justice Department.
Lawmakers hope to approve the package before a stop-gap measure expires in little more than a week.
As chairwoman of the Senate transportation appropriations subcommittee, Murray also inserted a provision in the bill which will allow King County Metro Transit to once again start providing low-cost transportation to major sporting and special events. The bill would provide $428 million for construction at Army, Air Force and Navy bases in Washington state. Nearly $153 million will go toward building additional facilities for another Stryker brigade at Fort Lewis along with $2 million to design a new Women and Children’s Center at Madigan Army Medical Center.
The Department of Veterans Affairs will receive $109 billion under the bill, most of which will be spent on health care services to cut wait-times and increase access. The bill targets $183 million toward female veterans programs and includes $3.2 billion to provide health care and other services to homeless vets.
Last year, the VA provided 420 housing vouchers for homeless veterans in the state.
“Too many of our veterans have sacrificed for our nation, but now sleep on the street,” Murray said.
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Here’s a rundown of some of the projects included in the bill:
$80 million for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund.
$2.9 million for construction of four new passenger-auto ferries.
$1.6 million for the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative
$900,000 for the Washington State Methamphetamine Initiative.
$1.3 million for the National Methamphetamine Training and Technical Assistance Center in Pierce County.
South Sound Projects
$974,000 for the Tacoma Intermodal Transit Center
$800,000 for streetscape improvements in downtown Tacoma including new bike paths, wider sidewalks and trees.
$1.4 million for downtown Gig Harbor revitalization.
$730,000 for the Gig Harbor HOPE Center project.
$500,000 for the Pierce County Regional Gang Prevention Partnership.
$500,000 for Pierce County Sheriff’s Office communications equipment.
$1 million for the Percival Landing Economic Development and Revitalization Project in Olympia.