U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg visited the City of Wenatchee during his tour to Washington Thursday.

Buttigieg is visiting Washington State to discuss how Pres. Biden’s Infrastructure For Rebuilding America (INFRA), a federal infrastructure grant fund that is geared towards repairing or creating local infrastructure.

On Oct. 6, Buttigieg was joined by Congresswoman Kim Schrier, Senator Maria Cantwell, Wenatchee Mayor Frank Kuntz and Senator Patty Murray as they toured the Apple Capital Loop Trail in Wenatchee.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation granted approximately $92 million in federal grant money for the Apple Capital Loop Project.

This is the largest grant award in Washington State history.

Infrastructure changes covered under this INFRA grant include intersection improvements to SR 285 and North Wenatchee Avenue, constructing a railroad underpass on McKittrick Street, and replacing the traffic lights on the intersection of US 2 and Easy Street with a roundabout.

“Thank you for reminding us that when we are building infrastructure, we're not just building roads and bridges, we are helping to build community and the participation that has come from community members, I think is part of what has made this project so strong and so compelling,” Buttigieg said.

This project would help connect the 11-mile loop to the rest of downtown Wenatchee, along with  providing safe pedestrian access for those traveling between Wenatchee and East Wenatchee, provide safe evacuation routes for emergency personnel, and relieve traffic congestion due to Wenatchee’s rapidly growing population.

Other issues discussed during Buttigieg’s visit included the future of wildfire protection and mitigation, supply-chain issues in the local agricultural economy, and the acceptance of the Confluence Parkway Project.

Mayor Frank Kuntz, along with Congresswoman Kim Schrier, Senator Maria Cantwell, and Senator Patty Murray illustrated their support for the project and some of the improvements coming to the Wenatchee Valley.

“Here we are today celebrating another massive achievement, which is the funding of Confluence Parkway, a new transportation part of our valley that is going to make huge changes to our region, both in terms of safety, moving pedestrians helping link just an incredible project and we're so excited to be celebrating that today,” Kuntz said.

Speakers also include Wenatchee Valley Fire Deputy Chief Rick McBridge and Parque Padrinos co-founder Teresa Bendito, who also shared their support for the Apple Capital Loop Project.

“We are especially excited about the expansion of the pedestrian bridge because it will continue to provide alternative transportation methods for our community, especially the south Wenatchee area, and it will create safer options for our community as well as connect this beautiful resource that we have here the riverfront area to those who reside in the south Wenatchee area,” Bendito said.

Buttigieg will continue highlighting the impact of last year's INFRA grants, traveling to King County and the Port of Tacoma on Friday.

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