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SUBJECT: Mayor Schell’s Request for Federal Transportation Aid Results in $12.8 Million for the Alaskan Way Viaduct and Magnolia Bridge

7/11/2001  1:07:00 PM

Mayor Schell’s Request for Federal Transportation Aid Results in $12.8 Million for the Alaskan Way Viaduct and Magnolia Bridge
Senator Murray Plays Leadership Role in Securing Funding

SEATTLE – Mayor Paul Schell’s appeal for federal transportation aid for the Alaskan Way Viaduct and Magnolia Bridge has resulted in $12.8 million in disaster relief thanks to the leadership of U.S. Sen. Patty Murray.

In the aftermath of the Nisqually quake, Mayor Schell flew to Washington, D.C. to ask for federal transportation assistance for the bridges, both seriously damaged in the Nisqually earthquake in February.

The mayor’s requests resulted in $9 million for the Magnolia Bridge and $3.8 million for the Alaskan Way Viaduct being included in the 2001 Senate Supplemental Appropriations Bill. These are exactly the amounts the mayor requested. The mayor learned of the successful funding when Murray called him during yesterday’s All-Star Game, right after Cal Ripkin hit his home run.

"This is monumental for Seattle’s commuters. This money is a critical first step toward developing permanent, long-term replacements for these important transportation links—the Viaduct and Magnolia Bridge, which are our highest transportation priorities," Schell said.

Mayor Schell thanked Sen. Murray, chair of the Senate’s Transportation and Appropriations subcommittee, saying, "I made this request knowing that it would be a tall order to achieve in an extremely tight budget year. But even though it was difficult, Senator Patty Murray came through. We have a tremendous ally in the senator. She went to bat for our community, and she delivered."

The mayor also praised Sen. Maria Cantwell for her leadership on the issue. In addition, the mayor thanked Councilmember Richard McIver, Council President Margaret Pageler and Judy Runstad for their hard work.

McIver, chair of City Council’s Transportation Committee, also thanked Senator Murray. "This demonstrates the city and federal governments working together to help solve our important transportation problems," he said.

The $12.8 million will fund the engineering studies and analysis that are necessary before construction of new permanent, long-term structures to replace the old bridges can begin.

The $3.8 million for the Viaduct will allow the city to complete studies of the Alaskan Way Seawall, including its seismic vulnerability, and enables the city in partnership with the Washington Department of Transportation to be ready with a permanent long-term replacement solution for the Viaduct as soon as possible. "We’re working on a very aggressive schedule to which both Transportation Secretary Doug McDonald and I are fully committed," Schell said.

The federal appropriation comes on top of $500,000 for the study of the Alaskan Way Seawall that was included in the state’s transportation budget.

"The $9 million for the Magnolia Bridge will get us to the point where we’re ready to start construction of a new and vastly improved structure in three years, a very aggressive schedule, which I have asked for," Schell said. "This money will get us there."

The $12.8 million is in the Senate's version of the Emergency Supplemental appropriations bill. It now goes to a House-Senate conference committee, where the bill is expected to be moved forward quickly. It may arrive on the president’s desk by the middle of next week.

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Mayor's Office

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