Maria Cantwell Embraces 'Senator Freight' Moniker

Maria Cantwell Embraces ‘Senator Freight’ Moniker


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Sen. Maria Cantwell doubled down on her position because the “freight senator” in an acceptance speech on Oct. 13 after being named the Pacific Northwest Waterways Affiliation’s Legislator of the 12 months.

“I don’t care if I’m known as ‘senator freight.’ I’ll take it,” Cantwell (D-Wash.) stated on the affiliation’s annual convention in Vancouver. Pacific Northwest Waterways Affiliation, a nonpartisan nonprofit composed of greater than 150 ports, companies and public businesses, advocates for federal funding and insurance policies to help regional financial improvement.

Glen Squires, the group’s president, introduced the award to Cantwell and stated the senator’s work has been integral in supporting a large number of initiatives alongside the Washington Coast, Puget Sound and the Columbia River system. It’s the kind of work that supposedly prompted former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to use the moniker “freight senator” to Cantwell.

However earlier than handing her the trophy, Squires requested the group to sing to the senator, because it was her sixty fourth birthday. Dan Worra, Port of Anacortes govt director, even introduced balloons — though they had been Paw Patrol themed.

The senator beforehand obtained the award in 2016 for her introduction of a $4.5 billion multimodal freight grant program crafted to scale back congestion at U.S. ports. Clearly, Cantwell didn’t cease there, Squires stated.

She was amongst different lawmakers to safe $1.2 trillion in President Joe Biden’s Infrastructure Funding and Jobs Act, handed final yr, for enhancements to the nation’s ports, roads, bridges and railways.

From that funding, Cantwell was capable of safe investments that instantly affect Washington, together with almost tripling the Port Infrastructure Growth Program’s annual price range. She additionally helped create a brand new $3 billion grant program to deal with at-grade railroad crossings, an issue Cantwell described that each metropolis within the state experiences.

The port program, which offered $2.25 billion over 5 years, is a vital useful resource for Washington to faucet into because it continues to develop. The state’s freight exports are anticipated to extend by 47% over the subsequent decade, or $654 billion, she stated.

“As I prefer to attempt to remind our colleagues on a regular basis, we’re one of the crucial trade-dependent states in america,” Cantwell stated. “If we need to proceed to have commerce alternatives, we now have to maneuver extra product and we now have to set targets.”

She additionally famous {that a} $1 million seismic research grant was awarded to the Interstate 5 Bridge Substitute Program, which is the primary chunk of federal funding to be directed towards the large infrastructure undertaking.

“It’s one of many worst bottlenecks that we now have within the space: 7 to 10 hours a day you would have backups,” Cantwell stated. “And it’s costing us some huge cash.”

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