Murray praises Tri-City dollars

Senator says stimulus funds secured easier with region’s reputation for wise spending.

Over the years, the Tri-Cities has built a reputation in Washington for spending government dollars wisely. And that, Sen. Patty Murray said Monday, helped her secure money from the federal stimulus package.

Murray who recently got nearly $2 billion for Hanford cleanup that is expected to create thousands of jobs in the Tri-Cities and spur potential spin offs, spoke at a community reception held in her honor at Columbia Basin College.

Leaders in this community always do their homework, which makes it easier for her to champion the cause of Tri-Citians in Washington, D.C.  “This community is part of building the future of America,” she said.

The depth of available scientific manpower, research capabilities and cutting-edge technologies in the area is drawing a lot of attention, she said. “Now, you’re on the map.”

Smart grid initiatives at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, biofuel research at Washington State University Tri-Cities and continuing developments at Kennewick’s Infinia Corp. and other local tech firms will help reduce the Hanford footprint and develop resources for a post-Hanford economy, she said.

Energy farms may become the new engine of economic development and job growth in the next decade or so, Murray said.

The Tri-Cities is a community with a lot of strength, said Murray, who received a special plague from the Port of Pasco in recognition of her support for a freight rail project. She also has obtained federal money to assist agriculture and transportation projects.

The community’s potential for further economic growth and the fact this community spends money wisely helped her convince her fellow members of Congress to allocate money for various projects, including Hanford and Ben Franklin Transit despite tight budgets, she said.

Keith Klien, executive director of the Tri-City Local Business Association and the retired manager of the Richland Operations Office of the Department of Energy, was among the crowd of Tri-Citians who thanked Murray for her support.

“Incorporating technology in the post Hanford environment is part of the large-scale vision,” he said.

Source: Tri-City Herald


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