On August 20, 2001 a group of public and private interests met to chart a new comprehensive strategy designed to advance Walla Walla Valley's long sought after goal of four-laning U.S. Highway 12 from Burbank, Washington to Walla Walla, Washington. As a result of this meeting, the U.S. Highway 12 Coalition was formed.

The Coalition's first action was to retain the services of Ball Janik to work with our congressional delegation as critical transportation authorization and appropriation bills make there way through congress. In addition, Ball Janik coordinates coalition member visitations to Washington, DC to meet with congressional members and key congressional committee staff.

The coalition also made a commitment to develop comprehensive marketing materials to articulate the safety and economic development justification for four-laning U.S. Highway 12. This website is a product of the coalition's marketing efforts. Below in chronological order, is a description of some of the coalition's efforts and accomplishments.

Milestone - September 18 & 19, 2002

Port of Walla Walla Executive Director Jim Kuntz travels to Washington, DC.

Meetings held with:

September 18
  • Kathy Weatherly, Office of Congressman Pete DeFazio
  • John Anderson, Office of Senator Mike Crapo
  • Tracie Sunday, Office of Congressman Rick Larsen
  • Mariia Zimmerman, Office of Congressman Earl Blumenauer
  • Ben McMakin & Dale Learn, Office of Senator Patty Murray
September 19
  • Grey Gardner, Office of Senator Maria Cantwell
  • Congressman George Nethercutt
  • Mike McEleney, Office of Congressman "Butch" Otter
  • Brian Hard, Office of Congressman Greg Walden
  • Brandon Tucker, Office of Congressman Mike Simpson
  • Tyler Prout, Office of Congressman Doc Hastings
  • Alisa Ferguson, Office of Congressman Brian Baird
  • Joshua Sheinkman, Office of Senator Ron Wyden

Milestone - October 24, 2002

Congressman George Nethercutt meets with U.S. Highway 12 Coalition in Walla Walla.


Pam Ray, Walla Walla County Commissioner
Congressman George Nethercutt
Fred Bennett, Port of Walla Walla Commissioner

Milestone - December 10, 2002

Secretary of Washington State Department of Transportation meets with US Highway 12 Coalition to discuss transportation financing issues.


Doug MacDonald, Secretary of Transporation

Milestone - February 20, 2003

Major Milestone - 2003 Federal Budget Contains $4.4 million for U.S. Highway 12

President George Bush signs 2003 Federal Budget. Included is $4.4 million to assist with four-laning U.S. Highway 12. Senator Patty Murray and Congressman George Nethercutt played instrumental roles in securing the appropriation. Senator Maria Cantwell was also supportive.

Patty Murray

Maria Cantwell

George Nethercutt

Milestone - February 25, 26, 27, 2003

Port of Walla Walla Commissioner Dr. Fred Bennett and Port Executive Director Jim Kuntz travel to Washington, DC.

Meetings held with:

  • Senator Patty Murray
  • Evan Schatz, Office of Representative Rich Larsen
  • Beth Stein, Office of Senator Maria Cantwell
  • Alisa Ferguson, Office of Representative Brian Baird

Milestone - February 28, 2003

Port of Walla Walla Commissioner Dr. Fred Bennett, Walla Walla County Commissioner Dave Carey and Port Executive Director Jim Kuntz meet with Congressman George Nethercutt.

Milestone - March 10 & 11, 2003

City of Walla Walla Mayor Jerry Cummins and City Manager Duane Cole Travel to Washington, DC.

Meetings held with:

  • Congressman George Nethercutt
  • Senator Maria Cantwell
  • Ben McMakin and Dale Learn, Office of Senator Patty Murray