Cantwell Announces $6.66 Million Grant for Union Gap Regional Beltway Connector Project

Funding will help move 10 million tons of freight each year, relieve congestion, boost local economy, improve road safety; Grant comes from program Cantwell created in 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the Ranking Member of the Senate transportation committee, announced that the City of Union Gap will receive $6.66 million for its Regional Beltway Connector project. The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s INFRA grant program. 

“Yakima is a critical part of Washington’s juggernaut export economy, helping us lead the way in agriculture, wine, and manufacturing,” Senator Cantwell said. “If we want to keep growing these jobs, we need to decrease congestion and ensure that freight can get to market. This grant will do that right in Union Gap.” 

The Regional Beltway Connector project will help ease truck congestion and speed freight movement through Yakima County, decreasing traffic delays and improving road safety. The project will reroute the nearly 3,000 semi-trucks that pass through Union Gap every day away from arterial roads by connecting existing freight routes, shipping and packing facilities, and the Yakima Air Terminal to I-82. The project will also provide connectivity to 400 acres of currently undeveloped industrial and commercial land, boosting local economic development and job growth. 

It is estimated the project could save approximately 26.6 hours of truck travel and 116 hours of non-truck travel each day. It will help ship nearly 10 million tons of freight each year to air, rail, and shipping facilities throughout the state of Washington.

The $6.66 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. 

Cantwell has supported grant applications for the project in the past, including writing a letter in support of funding last September.