Yakima Valley Boulevard Project Receives Large Portion of Stimulus Money - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima Valley Boulevard Project Receives Large Portion of Stimulus Money

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YAKIMA, Wash-- The legislature is making transportation projects a top priority for stimulating Washington's economy. In an effort to keep people working they announced $341 million in federal stimulus money Tuesday.

A green light coming from the Senate and House transportation committee for Department of Transportation construction. They announced $30.8 million in federal funding for the Valley Mall Boulevard Project. This is music to Don Whitehouse's ears, the project had stalled because of funding issues. 

He calls the funding a huge accomplishment. "Just Valley Mall alone is about 10% of this pot of money that came to the state for state highways. So us getting this Valley Mall back on schedule, 30.8 million dollars is significant," said Whitehouse, regional administrator, WashDOT.

The project is a collaboration between the City of Union Gap and the DOT. While the DOT works on making the connection to I-82 better, the city is in charge of roads connecting Valley Mall Blvd to the airport.

Mayor Jim Lemon said Union Gap's on the list for other funding as well. It's in the form of Senator Murray's 2009 Omnibus Appropriation Bill.

"This is money from last year's budget, congressional budget. About $570,000 to help us with Valley Mall Blvd," said Lemon.

But, no matter where the funding is coming from continuing work on Valley Mall Blvd is a top priority. It will create construction jobs now and improve commerce for the future.

"This will help allow better transportation and movement throughout the whole valley as it relates to transportation and the airport," said Lemon.

"I could expect hundreds or maybe even thousands of jobs on that corridor up and down this valley with good transportation. And so it's not only the jobs now, it's the jobs in the future," said Whitehouse.

Whitehouse said construction could begin as early as October for the I-82 interchange.

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