U.S. Reps. Rick Larsen and Pramila Jayapal were among five congressional representatives from Washington state who introduced legislation Friday aimed at ensuring that. medium-sized cities — including Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace –receive federal funding for surface transportation and infrastructure projects. The Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development for Underfunded Projects (BUILD UP) Act requires at least 30 percent of funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s BUILD grant program be awarded to cities with 10,000 to 75,000 residents, which would benefit several communities in Washington state and the Pacific Northwest.
Larsen represents the 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives, which includes the cities of Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace, while Jayapal represents the 7th District, which includes Edmonds. Other sponsors include Rep. Suzan K. DelBene (WA-01), Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Rep. Kim Schrier (WA-08).
Previously known as Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants, DOT’s BUILD grant program awards federal funding to local surface transportation projects across the country. However, according to an announcement from Larsen’s office, most BUILD grant funding benefits large metropolitan areas and the program’s structure can force medium-sized cities to delay or indefinitely postpone vital transportation projects. Larsen’s legislation would support innovative, surface infrastructure projects in medium-sized cities that lack the funding major urban areas typically receive. Larsen first introduced this bill in 2013 as the TIGER CUBS Act.
“You cannot have a big-league economy with little league infrastructure. In Washington state and across the country, transportation means jobs, and the BUILD UP program will help build bigger paychecks by helping medium-sized cities build better infrastructure,” said Larsen, a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “BUILD UP will help medium-sized cities in the Pacific Northwest meet their individual needs and ensure vital federal funding for critical surface transportation and infrastructure projects.”
“As House Democrats develop a broad plan to rebuild our nation’s roads, bridges, transit systems and other critical infrastructure, it’s critical that suburban cities and small towns don’t get left behind,” said Jayapal. “By driving badly-needed federal transportation funds to smaller cities and towns that have been neglected by existing federal transportation programs, the BUILD UP Act will help ensure cities like Shoreline, Edmonds, Lake Forest Park, and Burien have the support they need to rebuild ages-old infrastructure.”
Added Mountlake Terrace Mayor Kyoko Matsumoto Wright: “The City of Mountlake Terrace applauds Congressman Larsen for his leadership on behalf of cities our size. Rep. Larsen understands that communities like Mountlake Terrace require federal funding partners to make the necessary infrastructure improvements to manage regional growth. The BUILD Up Act is a needed boost to our local efforts as we prepare for light rail coming to our community in 2024.”