Cantwell Announces $60 Million in Grants Awarded to Four Washington State Transportation Infrastructure Projects

Cantwell secured 50% funding boost for program in Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law yesterday

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell announced that a total of $60 million in federal grants has been awarded to four critical Washington state transportation infrastructure projects that will help reduce traffic congestion, ease supply-chain bottlenecks, create jobs, and boost local economies. The awards were made through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant program. This is the first time four RAISE grants have been awarded at once to Washington state, which also received the second most funding of any state in the nation.

Senator Cantwell, in her position as Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, helped secure $7.5 billion for the RAISE program – a 50% annual increase – in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), signed into law yesterday by President Biden.  

The following RAISE grants were awarded to Washington state projects:

East Marginal Way Corridor Improvement Project, Seattle -- $20 million 

“With East Marginal Way greatly deteriorated and congested both by freight traffic and residents impacted by the closure of the West Seattle Bridge, this project will give this critical freight corridor a much-needed facelift. It will allow East Marginal Way to handle heavy truck traffic between port terminals, SoDo railyards and businesses, and I-5, reducing congestion in SoDo while providing a direct connection to the newly renovated Terminal 5 via the lower West Seattle Bridge,” said Senator Cantwell.

The project will allow the city to widen and strengthen the road, making East Marginal Way into a heavy haul corridor so the street can accommodate larger and heavier truck traffic into the port. This will improve access to the lower West Seattle Bridge and Terminal 5 at the Port of Seattle for the 3,700 trucks that use the corridor each day. Additionally, the project is expected to significantly improve congestion by using improved traffic signals, resulting in 8,800 fewer hours of traffic annually.

This $20 million grant award will fully fund the project and allow the city to start construction at the end of 2022. The project will support approximately 533 direct and indirect jobs during construction. Project completion is estimated for 2025. 

In July, Senator Cantwell joined colleagues in sending a letter of support for the grant to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. In August, Cantwell led Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg on a tour of the area.

“Thank you to our many federal partners especially Secretary Buttigieg and Senator Maria Cantwell for supporting the full development of East Marginal Way S and recognizing that this project is a top priority for our city, region, and state. East Marginal Way S is not only a vital freight corridor, it also provides a key connection for pedestrians and bicyclists where few alternatives exist. Separating modes safely within the same corridor aligns with the City’s Vision Zero goals and will make safe and efficient use of this vital area. Our partnership with the Biden administration and federal delegation has led to an enormous opportunity for jobs and investments in infrastructure,” Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan said of the grant annoucement.

Industrial Rail Corridor Expansion (IRCE), Port of Longview -- $16 million 

“Today, the number one thing port customers in Washington are looking for is on-dock rail, because they know how important it is for efficiently exporting their cargo to the Asia-Pacific,” said Senator Cantwell. “This investment will allow the Port of Longview to deliver cargo by rail right to the docks while doubling its current rail capacity to meet the needs of existing exporters and new businesses, creating hundreds of new jobs.”

The project will double rail capacity at the port by adding two new rail lines with another four track beds to accommodate future needs and extending the length of the existing two rail lines. The project will allow the port to redevelop Berth 4 for bulk exports like soda ash or agricultural products, enabling the port to find new tenants for the terminal. 

Prospective tenants to the port’s empty property at Barlow Point have also expressed the need for direct on-dock rail connections. The project is estimated to create more than 1,600 jobs over the next 20 years. Project completion is estimated for 2027. The port is a key economic driver for the community, supporting 19,203 local, regional and national jobs and generates $2.8 billion in economic activity.  

In July, Senator Cantwell joined colleagues in sending a letter of support for the grant to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. In August, she visited the Port of Longview to discuss federal funding.

Port of Longview Commission President Allan Erickson said, “We are fortunate to have a congressional delegation that is united in their commitment to Cowlitz County. We want to thank Senator Murray, Senator Cantwell and Congresswoman Herrera Beutler for all their efforts to deliver this critical federal investment. This is a huge win for our community and will ensure the Port continues to serve as an economic driver in our region. From Senator Cantwell’s visit to the Port this summer to see the project firsthand along with her and Congresswoman Herrera Beutler’s personal advocacy to Secretary Buttigieg, this was truly a team effort to secure this game changing federal investment.”

US-12 Highway-Rail Separation Project, Aberdeen -- $2.08 million  

“This grant will help eliminate three highway-rail grade crossings along a critical stretch of Highway 12 in downtown Aberdeen that cut the community in half. It will improve safety and reduce congestion for freight bound for the Port of Grays Harbor,” said Senator Cantwell. “With each train blocking access to Olympic Gateway Plaza for up to half an hour, this project is sorely needed to reduce delays and ensure emergency vehicles can access the area.”

The grant will allow the City to complete the planning phase of the project, which will eliminate three at-grade rail crossings that currently separate Highway 12 from the city’s main commercial area. It will also reduce delays to the Port of Grays Harbor. Currently, US-12 carries 28,000 vehicles per day, and trains can block the seven at-grade crossings in the corridor for up to 30 minutes per train. The rail crossings also delay truck traffic to the Port of Grays Harbor, which supports approximately 1,500 jobs. With completion of the planning phase, the City will be eligible to apply for Senator Cantwell’s new $3 billion highway-rail crossing elimination grant program to complete construction. 

In July, Senator Cantwell joined colleagues in sending a letter of support for the grant to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. In June, she visited Aberdeen to talk about funding for rail crossings improvements with local leaders.

“I very much want to thank Senator Cantwell, Senator Murray, and Congressman Kilmer for all their hard work and ongoing efforts to deliver federal funding for this critical stretch of Highway 12 in downtown Aberdeen. All of our Federal Representatives have made direct requests on our behalf to advance this project through Congress and the Department of Transportation’s Grant process, and I am grateful for their partnership and support. This investment will produce real results through this pivotal freight corridor, not only for the City of Aberdeen, but across our region’s economy. I will continue to push for investments that help our transportation infrastructure become more efficient, safer, and produce benefits for our entire community, and I look forward to working with our outstanding federal partners to accomplish these goals,” Aberdeen Mayor Pete Schave said about the grant announcement.

Hoquiam Mayor Ben Winkelman said, “This project will greatly improve the US -12 freight corridor by developing our rail infrastructure to provide for lasting growth into the future. I am thankful to Senator Cantwell, Senator Murray, and Congressman Kilmer for their attention to this project and their ongoing partnership with the City of Hoquiam. Freight mobility is central to advancing our economy and sustaining efficient rail movement between the Port and our City. I appreciate our Federal Delegation’s ongoing collaboration on these efforts and applaud our joint efforts in securing this grant.”

Granite Falls Bridge #102, Snohomish County -- $22.1 million  

“The Mountain Loop Highway is a critical alternative route to Darrington and other communities in the North Stillaguamish Valley for both residents and freight. Tragedies like the Oso mudslide have shown the importance of improving these routes. This grant will replace the most deteriorated bridge in Snohomish County with a new, wider structure across the South Fork of the Stillaguamish River to ensure this route remains open,” said Senator Cantwell.

This grant will fully fund the replacement of Granite Falls Bridge #102, which crosses the South Fork of the Stillaguamish River on the Mountain Loop Highway, 1.5 miles outside of the city of Granite Falls. The bridge, built in 1934, is the sole southern access route for the more than 60,000 annual visitors to the area’s hiking and mountain biking trails, and gravel quarry and logging operations that employ over 270 workers. It is also an alternative access route for Darrington and other communities in the North Stillaguamish Valley.

Granite Falls Bridge #102 is the highest priority bridge in need of replacement in Snohomish County and with funding secured, construction is estimated for completion by 2026. In July, Senator Cantwell joined colleagues in sending a letter of support for the grant to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.  

“We are incredibly grateful to Sen. Cantwell, Rep. DelBene, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the members of our congressional delegation, and many others for helping us secure a $22.1 million RAISE grant to fund the replacement of the Granite Falls Bridge,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. “We have been working for many years to fix this key link in our north county transportation network, and now we can finally get down to work. The replacement of this vital bridge will ensure people and goods can get to where they need to go. Our economy and the vitality of our community depend on maintaining our infrastructure.”

RAISE Grants Awarded to Washington State in the Last Five Years include:

  • $10 million for the Port of Everett’s South Terminal Modernization Project (2016) 
  • $9.02 million for Spokane Valley’s Barker Road Grade Separation Project (2017) 
  • $5.6 million for WSDOT’s Rural Rail Rehabilitation project in Whitman, Spokane, and Lincoln Counties. (2018) 
  • $14.3 million for Spokane County’s Geiger Boulevard Infrastructure Improvement Project (2018)  
  • $11.3 million for Spokane Airport’s Rail-Truck Transload Facility Project (2019) 
  • $17.75 million for the Port of Everett’s Mills to Maritime Cargo Terminal Project (2020) 
  • $7.01 million for the City of Ridgefield’s Pioneer Street Extension Project (2020)  
  • $5 million for the Port of Hood River’s White Salmon/Hood River Interstate Bridge Replacement Project (2020)  

The letter of support for East Marginal Way can be found HERE, Snohomish County HERE, Port of Longview HERE, and Aberdeen HERE.