WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Brian Baird, D-Wash., used his position on the House Transportation Committee to help secure $57.5 million in funding for this region in a major transportation bill passed by the House March 10.

The funding was included in HR 3, the Transportation Equity Act: Legacy for Users (TEA-LU). TEA-LU would authorize $284 billion for highway, public transportation and road safety projects for the six-year period from fiscal year 2004 through fiscal year 2009.

" TEA-LU would allow us to build safer, less congested roads, which will improve the quality of life in Southwest Washington in many ways," said Baird.

The Senate is working on its version of the bill, so while funding is not assured, sources are optimistic about the bill's eventual passage.

HR 3 is the latest in a series of bills outlining transportation spending priorities for the nation. Last year, both the House and Senate passed versions of the transportation reauthorization bill, but neither bill was enacted into law.

Pacific County projects secured by Rep. Baird include:

Willapa Hills Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail: $700,000

This project seeks to convert a former railroad into a 56-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail from Chehalis to Raymond. The project is expected to stimulate economic growth in Southwest Washington communities

Lewis and Clark Scenic

Overlook: $146,000

Provides funding for the Lewis and Clark Discovery Trailhead and Scenic Overlook project, which will expand the size and increase safety at the current overlook location. Serving as a trailhead, this overlook is a historic viewpoint on the Lewis and Clark Trail that provides a vista of the Pacific Ocean and is frequented by thousands of visitors every year.

Lewis and Clark National

Historical Park Transit: $100,000

Funding will allow the city of Ilwaco and Port of Ilwaco to purchase transit vehicles to accommodate the anticipated influx of visitors to the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.

Ilwaco Park and Ride: $100,000

Funding will allow the city of Ilwaco and Port of Ilwaco to create a "park and ride" to facilitate the use shuttles to Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, relieving significant roadway congestion.

Wahkiakum County projects secured by Rep. Baird include:

Puget Island Ferry Landing: $250,000

Project will reconfigure the Wahkiakum County Puget Island Ferry landing to more safely and efficiently accommodate truck and automobile traffic.

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