Bill includes funding for Blaine, county

Published on Thu, Dec 11, 2003
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Bill includes funding for Blaine, county

Blaine has been included as a funding recipient in a congressional spending bill that will provide millions to Whatcom County for law enforcement needs, U.S. Representative Rick Larsen announced last week.

The bill, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, gives $300,000 for border communities, including Blaine, to purchase and upgrade radio equipment for communication with Border Patrol. In addition, $9.8 million has been allocated for the construction of a new border station � a project that also involved Senator Patty Murray.

Whatcom Community College will receive $250,000 for expansion of the college�s administration of justice program, to prepare students for careers in law enforcement. The college hopes to eventually serve as the central site for coordinating and training a variety of agencies in border security needs. Language in the bill also requires a justice department study into the number of cases being referred to the local prosecutor�s office from federal arrests at the border.

The bill also includes: $500,000 for the South Bay Taylor Dock Project in Bellingham, which links downtown Bellingham to Fairhaven via the Coast Millennium Trail; $2.61 million for upgrades and renovations of the Bellingham federal building; and money to build a fiber optics backbone to bring high speed bandwidth to rural Whatcom County through the Whatcom County fiber optics program.

�I am pleased that I could secure these projects for Whatcom County. This funding will go a long way in supporting economic development, transportation needs and community efforts in Whatcom County,� Larsen said.

The provisions are included in the final version of a combined congressional spending bill agreed upon last week by house and senate negotiators. Senate action is not expected until January.