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  For Immediate Release Contact: Abbey Blake  
  November 20, 2004 202-225-2605  
Omnibus Spending Bill Includes 2nd District Priorities

Washington, D.C. - Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) announced today that the Fiscal Year 2005 Omnibus Appropriations bill (H.R. 4818) includes important funding for 2nd District priorities for which Larsen fought. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the conference this afternoon. The legislation includes all nine of the unfinished spending bills. Senate action will follow the House vote.

“This spending package includes funding that will benefit our local communities,” Larsen said. “These important projects have the potential to bring vital economic and job growth opportunities to our local communities,” he added.

"Once again Senator Murray has delivered for Washington state," he continued.  "She serves as an excellent partner in the Senate to ensure the 2nd District, and all of Washington state, receive federal funding for local needs."

Partial list of local priorities funded in the spending bill:

· $200,000 for Oak Harbor (State Route 20) Drinking Water Infrastructure, Oak Harbor
· $121,250 for Mount Baker Theatre Improvements, Bellingham
· $850,000 for Snohomish County Sheriff Palm-Imaging Technology, Snohomish County
· $2,000,000 for the Washington State Methamphetamine Initiative, Washington state
· $600,000 for Everett Community College’s Early College High School Program for students in Northwest Washington, NW Washington state
· $500,000 for Pursuing Perfection Program at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Bellingham
· $2,000,000 for Skagit Valley Hospital Access Improvements, Mount Vernon
· $634,000 for Border Crossing Improvements at the Pacific Highway Truck Crossing (SR 543/I-5), Blaine

Additional information on each project:

$200,000 for Oak Harbor (State Route 20) Drinking Water Infrastructure, Oak Harbor, WA

This funding from the State and Tribal Assistance Grant (STAG) program will help the city of Oak Harbor and the Navy with their State Route 20 Water Transmission Replacements. The city of Oak Harbor, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, and Deception Pass State Park all receive their potable water from a ten-inch and 24-inch water main paralleling State Route 20 (SR20). These water transmission lines are in the state highway right-of-way under a franchise agreement that permits the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to require that these mains be moved if in the interest of WSDOT. Currently, WSDOT is designing safety improvements in certain areas along the route that dictate a change in horizontal and vertical alignment. The change necessitates moving the water mains at the expense of the city and the Navy. This funding will help the city and Navy pay for that move.

$121,250 for Mount Baker Theatre Improvements, Bellingham, WA

The funding will enhance the theater’s sound system as improvements are made to this community resource. The Mount Baker Theatre was built as a silent screen movie and vaudeville house in 1927 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Buildings in 1978.  The theater serves the greater Northern Puget Sound area of Washington state, including Whatcom County as well as Skagit, San Juan and Island counties, and lower British Columbia.  The Mount Baker Theatre typically produces 150 shows per season, serving over 100,000 patrons and bringing in economic revenue to the surrounding community.  Due to the theater’s historic age, renovations to the sound system are necessary in order to accommodate the national touring productions that bring the performing arts, entertainment, and education to the region. 

$850,000 for Snohomish County Sheriff Palm-Imaging Technology, Snohomish County, WA

This funding will be allocated from the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program for the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department as they continue to implement new palm-imaging technology. Recently, finger-imaging technology and the fingerprint database have been expanded to include palm prints.  Many cases in the Puget Sound area depend on recording and matching palm prints along with fingerprints, however no jurisdictions have access to this needed technology. This funding will allow the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department to fully implement palm-imaging technology and will help the Puget Sound area solve more crimes by utilizing this technology. 

$2,000,000 for the Washington State Methamphetamine Initiative, Washington State

As a co-chair of the Congressional Caucus to Fight and Control Methamphetamine, Larsen fights each year, along with the Washington state delegation, for this important funding that will help the state continue its efforts to fight against meth. The Washington State Meth Initiative provides funding for statewide cleanup, treatment and prevention programs, training, and other law enforcement efforts to combat meth in Washington state. 

$600,000 for Everett Community College’s Early College High School Program, NW Washington state

These funds will help with curriculum and redesign of the Early College High School programs that allow typically low-income or first generation college students to complete the first two years of college while earning a high school diploma. In addition, it will also pay for coordination and planning between the Ferndale, LaConner, Marysville School Districts as well as other school districts in Snohomish County, and the Whatcom, Skagit Valley and Everett Community Colleges.

$500,00 for the Pursuing Perfection Project for Whatcom County at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Bellingham, WA

The program is working to implement a nationally-recognized chronic care model across Whatcom County by coordinating the efforts and resources of the hospital, primary/secondary physician group practices, payers, and community-health centers. Funding will allow the program to continue and expand its current program and activities, improving health care in Whatcom County.

2,000,000 for Skagit Valley Hospital Access Improvements, Mount Vernon, WA

Skagit Valley Hospital is both an essential health care facility and an important economic engine for Skagit County.  These funds will supplement the expansion of Skagit Valley Hospital by helping to provide transportation improvements to increase access to the facility.
$634,000 for Border Crossing Improvements at the Pacific Highway Truck Crossing (SR 543/I-5), Blaine, WA

As the fourth busiest border crossing on the northern border, assisting over 3,000 trucks each day and $15 billion in goods annually, this crossing has witnessed trucks backed up several miles on I-5 resulting in major congestion and safety concerns.  This funding will help to alleviate the congestion along the Pacific Highway Truck Crossing (SR 543) and I-5 in Blaine and allow for better transborder freight mobility.

The Conference Report on H.R. 4818 - Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act for FY05 includes the nine pending appropriations bills for fiscal year 2005: Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-State, Foreign Operations, Interior, Labor-HHS-Education, Legislative Branch, Transportation-Treasury, Veterans-Housing and Urban Development, and Energy and Water.

Due to the size of the Omnibus Appropriations bill and the limited time during which it was considered, in the next week Larsen will send more detailed information on additional priorities that were included for the 2nd District.


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