U.S. Rep. Adam Smith today voted to invest in key infrastructure and housing needs by supporting the conference report for H.R. 3074, the fiscal year 2008 Transportation – Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill.  The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 270 to 147.

“Recent events illustrate the need for this bipartisan, fiscally responsible legislation: collapsing bridges, aging highway systems, and a housing crunch threatening American families.  Congress passed legislation tonight that would invest in each of these areas to support our economy.  The President should withdraw his veto threat and join us in investing in our nation’s economic and social health,” Smith said.

The conference report includes key investments in our nation’s transportation system, including highways, railways, and bridges.  Congress also included funds to help Americans obtain affordable housing by increasing Housing and Urban Development vouchers.  The President threatened to veto the measure over objections to additional investments made by Congress that exceed the President’s inadequate budget request.

The conference report appropriates a total of $105.6 billion and includes the following investments:

  • $40 billion for road construction, repair and improvement;
  • $1 billion for bridge rehabilitation;
  • $195 million to complete the Federal share of reconstruction costs for the collapsed I-35 bridge;
  • Funds to renew all existing housing vouchers, and 15,500 new vouchers for veterans, the disabled, and low-income families;
  • A 500 percent funding increase for housing counseling during the sub-prime mortgage crisis to help homeowners stay in their homes;
  • $3.5 billion for grants for airport efficiency, modernization and safety;
  • $1.45 billion for Amtrak;
  • $110 million for air travel access to air rural communities; and
  • More than $85 million for pipeline and rail safety. 

Smith also worked to secure funds for the following South Sound transportation priorities:

  • $150,000 for a planned Bethel Community Center in unincorporated Pierce County that will support seniors, families and youth. The community center will help improve the health and wellness of senior citizens and youth, support educational programs, and provide physical education and recreational opportunities for the area’s 100,000 residents.
  • $14,076,000 for the King County Pacific Highway South Bus Rapid Transit, Seattle, WA. This is one of only four projects nationwide for which the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) recommended funding under the Very Small Starts program in its 2008 New Starts Report to Congress.  The project runs from Sound Transit's Light Rail Station at 154th Street (north of SeaTac Airport) to the Federal Way Transit Center (near SeaTac Mall), a distance of 10.35 miles.  Once fully implemented, it will reduce travel time in each direction by 12 to 15 minutes.
  • $1,260,000 for Auburn A-B Street Corridor Connector in Auburn, WA. This project will connect a major north-south corridor by constructing a 1.47 mile missing link in the 3.5 mile A-B Street corridor, which begins at the Auburn Transit Station and terminates at S. 277th Street on Auburn’s northern city limits.  The project will consist of a new 3-lane and 5-lane road with sidewalks between 3rd Street NW and 14th Street NW.  The project will link three grade-separated arterials from the northern city limits to the Auburn Transit Station – a regional transit hub served by the Sounder commuter rail and local and express bus service.
  • $1,050,000 for the Lincoln Avenue Grade Separation at the Port of Tacoma in Tacoma, WA.  The grade separation will improve the rail connection between the north and south sides of Lincoln Avenue.  The corridor is critical to operations at the Port of Tacoma; Lincoln Avenue is a key connector to Portland Avenue, which is one of only two entrances to the Port from I-5.
  • $500,000 for FAST Corridor Grade Separations. These improved crossings at highway and railroad intersections along the I-5 corridor will better facilitate the passage of freight and vehicular traffic.
  • $500,000 to provide additional access on and off I-5 at SR-161/S 356th Street.  This is a critical segment of the overall Triangle Project in Federal Way: it would create a new access point to Federal Way and surrounding communities; direct access to surrounding businesses; and will alleviate safety and congestion issues associated with too few and outdated access points to the area, particularly the highly-congested intersection of SR-18 and SR-161, designated by WSDOT as a High Accident Location.
     
The community center will help improve the health and wellness of senior citizens and youth, support educational programs, and provide physical education and recreational opportunities for the area’s 100,000 residents.