Press Releases

Funding will help enhance freight movement and economic competitiveness, decrease congestion

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D, WA-09), U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the Ranking Member of the Senate transportation committee, and Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and U.S. Representatives Denny Heck (D, WA-10), Derek Kilmer (D, WA-06), Pramila Jayapal (D, WA-07), and Kim Schrier, M.D., (D, WA-08) announced today that the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will receive $73.6 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) INFRA grant program for the Puget Sound Gateway Program freight infrastructure project.

"Investments in our infrastructure support continued economic development and provide job opportunities throughout the Puget Sound region," said Representative Smith. "This $73 million grant for the Puget Sound Gateway Project will fund desperately needed improvements to major highways that will improve regional mobility, spur economic growth, and enhance sustainability and safety. I look forward to the Washington State Department of Transportation’s continued progress on this project that will benefit millions of people in the state of Washington."

“This investment couldn't come at a better time,” Senator Cantwell said. “Freight movement and congestion have plagued Puget Sound for years and with the West Seattle bridge down, alternative routes for freight are an even bigger priority. The $73 million dollar Gateway Program investment will establish an actual freight corridor along SR 167 and SR 509 to help agricultural products and manufactured goods get to port without going on I-5.”

“From the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma to agricultural hubs in Central and Eastern Washington, this funding will reverberate across Washington state by helping facilitate the transport of goods, reduce congestion, and keep our state competitive in an increasingly global economy,” Senator Murray said. “I’m excited to see the positive impact that this project will have in Puget Sound and beyond, and I’m going to continue to fight for Washington state’s transportation and infrastructure priorities at the federal level.”

“Our state has invested more than $1.5 billion in the Puget Sound Gateway Program because we know its completion is essential to advancing our economy and moving Washington forward,” said Washington Governor Jay Inslee. “Particularly as we grapple with an unprecedented economic downturn, this program is vital to supporting job growth and advancing our economic competitiveness — improving freight connections, regional mobility and airport access. We are grateful to Washington’s Congressional Delegation for their work in securing these critical funds, which will help us carry this important program across the finish line.”

"The completion of SR 167 has long been a priority of mine, as it will improve freight mobility to and from the Port of Tacoma,” said Representative Heck. “This will open up new economic opportunities for the South Sound and create thousands of jobs throughout the region. The $73.6 million in federal grants for the Puget Sound Gateway Program will help make our communities more interconnected and transportation more efficient."

“Increasing the federal government’s investment in infrastructure in our region will help speed commerce at the port, help our region move goods faster to their final destinations, and support quality, good-paying jobs,” said Representative Kilmer. “I look forward to continuing to work with local, regional, and federal partners to keep our economy moving.” 

“This infrastructure grant is an investment in Washington’s farmers and growers, workers and producers, businesses and communities, and our entire region and economy,” said Representative Jayapal. “The Puget Sound Gateway Program will directly support the Northwest Seaport Alliance, which maintains more than 58,000 jobs and processes the most refrigerated exports—including fruits and vegetables grown right here in Washington—of any trade gateway in the United States.”

“Washington’s economy depends on crops grown in central Washington that are sold across the country and the world,” said Representative Schrier. “For too long, farmers and producers in the 8th district have had difficulty getting crops directly to market. The Puget Sound Gateway Program will make critical road improvements that will make it easier to get central Washington products to the ports in Seattle and Tacoma.”

“Building the ‘missing links’ of SR 509 and SR 167 to the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma will save time and money getting our products to trading partners throughout the world,” said Roger Millar, Washington’s Secretary of Transportation. “This federal grant, along with state and local contributions, will help close these key gaps in the nation’s freight highway network.”

The Puget Sound Gateway Program combines two smaller freight-focused transportation projects: extending SR 509 in King County and extending SR 167 in Pierce County. The extension of SR 509 will allow for a north-south alternative through Seattle and South King County, while forming a new southern access point for passengers and air cargo accessing Sea-Tac Airport. This addition will also provide an alternative route to I-5 from West Seattle, which is needed with the current closure of the West Seattle Bridge.

The SR 167 project will extend the highway from Puyallup into the Port of Tacoma, streamlining the transport of goods between the Port and key freight distribution centers in the Kent and Puyallup valleys. These enhancements will promote Washington state’s trade economy by connecting the state’s largest ports to important distribution centers in King and Pierce counties, as well as creating easier access for producers throughout Eastern Washington. The project will also help promote freight mobility and ease traffic congestion throughout the Puget Sound region. The first stage of construction kicked off on October 1, 2019.

The $73.6 million award was made through a grant program Cantwell created for freight mobility projects, which she authored in 2015 as part of the long-term transportation bill, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act).  The grant program, now referred to as the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) Grant Program, is the first-ever multimodal freight grant program focused on freight mobility. INFRA grants provide funding for projects of national or regional significance including railway, seaport, and highway projects, such as highway-rail separations, to increase safety and reduce congestion.


WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Strategic Forces Subcommittee Chairman Jim Cooper (D-TN), House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), Energy and Water Subcommittee Chairwoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), and Defense Subcommittee Chairman Pete Visclosky (D-IN) sent a letter today to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette seeking answers on the Trump Administration’s recent proposal to resume nuclear testing.

In their letter, the Members wrote, “It is unfathomable that the administration is considering something so short-sighted and dangerous, and that directly contradicts its own 2018 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). The NPR, which this administration often cites as inviolable, makes clear that ‘the United States will not resume nuclear explosive testing unless necessary to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.’ There is no information to suggest nuclear explosive testing is necessary based on these factors. In fact, the entities responsible for the safety and effectiveness of the nuclear deterrent—the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and its nuclear weapons laboratories—have, without fail for 24 years, certified to the President that our nuclear weapons stockpile remains safe, secure, and reliable without the need for testing.”

In addition, the Members warned about the security implications and far-reaching human and environmental impacts of a return to testing, and requested information and documents related to the nuclear discussions and a subsequent briefing on the administration’s answers.

“We request that you produce the following information and documents by June 22. We also request a briefing on these answers by June 25,” the Members wrote.

Full text of the letter can be found here.


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, expressing his concern regarding the use of military forces in response to peaceful protestors in the District of Columbia.

“I write you today to express my continued, grave concern about the use of military forces in response to peaceful protestors in the District of Columbia, the movement of active duty troops to staging areas around the country’s capital, and plans to deploy active duty troops around the United States should the President invoke the Insurrection Act,” Chairman Smith wrote.

“As you are well aware, the role of the United States military in support of domestic law enforcement is strictly limited by law. It must not be used in violation of those limits. I remain unconvinced that this fundamental premise is fully understood by the Administration in light of the events in Lafayette Square, the movement of active duty troops to staging areas just outside Washington, D.C., and the apparent use of military aviation to disperse protestors on the night of June 1, 2020.”

The full text of the letter can be found here.


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement demanding the Trump Administration provide crucial details about the potential deployments of United States military personnel within the boundaries of the United States:

“At a time when our nation is hurting the President continues to forgo any effort to calm tensions, as we had all hoped he would. Instead he used force to remove peaceful protestors to stage a photo opportunity. Instead of taking a moment of silence in front of the historic St Johns’ Episcopal Church to pray for the lives lost he gathered his cronies to take a picture. Instead of doing the right thing, he once again did the absolute wrong thing.

“I have serious concerns about using military forces to respond to protestors. The role of the U.S. military in domestic U.S. law enforcement is limited by law. It must not be used in violation of those limits and I see little evidence that President Trump understands this fundamental premise.

“I remain gravely concerned about President Trump’s seemingly autocratic rule and how it affects the judgement of our military leadership. I have called for Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, to testify before our committee to explain this domestic engagement to the American people. The fate of our democracy depends on how we navigate this time of crisis.”


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after President Trump announced his intention to invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the armed services across the country in response to protests of George Floyd’s murder.

“As we battle two pandemics at once – the COVID-19 virus, and the scourge of racism – President Trump’s decision to invoke the Insurrection Act, and his inflammatory rhetoric, proves that he cannot lead us through these tumultuous times and unite the country. Instead, he has decided to rely on the use of force to address those who he views as a threat.

“Rather than trying to calm tensions in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Trump has used inflammatory rhetoric, inciting violence against fellow Americans who are protesting. Rather than leading the national conversation about the need to reform our policing practices and address underlying inequalities, Trump has labeled protestors as ‘thugs’ and threatened them, using the language of segregationists.

“The domestic deployment of our armed services is an incredibly serious undertaking that should not be taken lightly. It is un-American to use our service members to ‘dominate’ civilians, as both the President and Secretary of Defense have suggested. We live in a democracy, not a dictatorship.

“I urge President Trump to reverse course and use the full weight of the presidency to calm tensions across the country, not escalate them. It simply doesn’t have to be this way.”