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Sen. Murray secures $44 million for interim repairs to Howard Hanson Dam

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray has secured $44 million in emergency funding for critical repairs to the Howard Hanson Dam.

Murray, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, included the funds, which will go to the Army Corps of Engineers, in the fiscal year 2010 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill.

“This is a big step in safeguarding homes, businesses, and the economy of the Green River Valley,” said Murray in a press release. “It’s an investment in keeping one of the most economically vital regions in our state protected, and in providing the families that live there with peace of mind.

The funding still needs approval of Congress.

Murray will join other regional and local leaders, including Renton Mayor Denis Law, at 2:15 p.m. Friday in Kent to discuss the appropriation. The event it at Russell Road Park along the Green River.

Law joined other South King County mayors recently in helping Murray lobby in Washington, D.C., for the $44 million.

“The entire Green River Valley has told me with one voice that this is their top priority. With the rainy season getting closer, time is not on our side. People’s homes, jobs, and livelihoods are at stake. Waiting for funding continues to put the region at risk. I have made absolutely clear to my colleagues that this is a serious concern and I’m very proud to have secured this funding," Murray said.

The dam sustained damages during storms in January 2009 that weakened its structure. In March 2010, the Army Corps of Engineers identified interim repairs costing $44 million that would further increase protection against a major flood event.

However, the corps also indicated that in order to move forward with those repairs, it would have to have funding in hand, according to the press release.

The funding still needs approval of Congress.

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