Over the next few years the Puget Sound Regional Council expects to provide record levels of funding for transit projects.
Federal funds available at PSRC hit $240 million per year
Overall funds available from PSRC will hit an all-time high of about $240 million in 2014.
Since 1999 federal transit funding available via PSRC has more than doubled – a rate consistent with overall growth in federal transit funding nationwide.
Meanwhile, funding available at PSRC from the Federal Highway Administration has remained relatively flat.
Funds from the Federal Transportation Administration represent about two-thirds of all funding available from PSRC.
The United States Department of Transportation is expecting the Highway Trust Fund to come up short this year. Meanwhile the Mass Transit Account is expected to end the year with a balance of $440 million.
A $700 million project selection process is underway right now at PSRC for federal funds that are expected through 2017.
The Growth Management Policy Board will meet on Thursday, March 6 at 10 am in the PSRC Boardroom.
The new Regional TOD Advisory Committee will be comprised of representatives of agencies and organizations who signed the Growing Transit Communities Compact.
Creation of a regional Transit-Oriented Development Advisory Committee will be the primary action item at the meeting.
The board will develop a proposal that covers the structure, functions, and membership of a new standing committee that will review implementation of the Growing Transportation Communities Compact and action strategies, and will make recommendations to the Growth Management Policy Board on regional Transit Oriented Development implementation.
An update on the first round of growth targets under VISION 2040 and the supplemental biennial budget and work program will be the main discussion items.
View the full agenda here.
PSRC’s Economic Development District Board will meet on Wednesday, March 5 at 1 pm in the PSRC Boardroom.
The aerospace cluster could help the region receive the federal Manufacturing Communities designation.
Election of new EDD officers, ratification of the Executive Committee, and a letter support for the EDD’s Manufacturing Communities designation application are the main action items scheduled for the meeting.
The Manufacturing Communities designation will be awarded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration as part of a federal interagency competition, which will reward 12 communities with an established strategy around a key technology or supply chain. Recipients of the designation will receive a two-year preference for future federal grants and technical assistance.
Discussion items at the meeting will include the draft supplemental budget, economic opportunity in Pierce County, and a 2014 legislative update.
The full agenda is available here.
PSRC is seeking public input on the Transportation 2040 Update. The public comment period ends March 10, 2014.
The new 520 floating bridge, scheduled to be open in 2016, is one of the major projects that will be completed in the first decade of the Transportation 2040 plan.
Transportation 2040 is the region’s long-range plan for transportation. It describes the investments and strategies to accommodate growth and meet the region’s transportation needs for the next 30 years.
The plan was adopted in 2010 and is updated every four years.
The updated Transportation 2040 plan includes new forecasts, new analysis tools, and a revised financial strategy that deals with the impacts of the recession.
Analysis shows the updated plan will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, delay, vehicle miles traveled and vehicle hours traveled.
The revised Transportation 2040 also updates the Coordinated Transit-Human Services Plan and Regional Transportation Demand Management Plan and adds a new Active Transportation Plan.
The draft report and appendices are available for review here or contact PSRC’s Information Center at 206-464-7532 for print copies.
How to Comment:
U.S. Mail: Amy Ho, PSRC, 1011 Western Avenue, Suite 500, Seattle, WA 98104-1035
The Mayor of Algona wants to know what the impact of additional long trains will be on emergency services in his city. The King County Executive notes that King County’s leadership is voicing concern and wants to know the economic, health, environmental and property value impacts of additional coal trains. The Mayor of Everett is interested in the safety of additional oil trains from North Dakota oil fields bound for Puget Sound refineries.
PSRC is leading a study to inform regional leadership and the general public about the economic effects of the proposed Gateway Pacific bulk commodity terminal on the four counties of central Puget Sound.
Consultants hired by the Puget Sound Regional Council were asked to answer those questions and more in an economic study of a proposed new coal terminal north of Bellingham.
That study is underway, with the next step being an identification of regional impacts and economic effects, followed by an analysis of opportunities for mitigation for locations where these regional impacts may be highest.
Regional freight activity on the rail lines that would support the Gateway Pacific Terminal has recovered from the recession and is expected to grow significantly in the coming decades. Passenger rail travel on these same lines is also expected to grow during this time. Demand on these lines may also increase due to the increased transport of Bakken oil.
Of six proposed coal terminals within Washington, Oregon and British Columbia, Cherry Point would have the largest impact on the central Puget Sound region.
The next steps in the study will identify the regional impacts and provide the analysis of the economic impacts.
This is expected to be presented to the board on April 24. PSRC’s study is one of 6 currently underway.
The Final Environmental Impact Statement for the terminal is expected in 2016 and the phase one terminal could be completed two years after approval.
View the presentation from the February 27 Executive Board meeting. Previous post on this topic.
A sold-out crowd — including more than 70 working farmers — attended the inaugural Pierce County Farm Forum earlier this month.
The forum featured presentations and interactive sessions on agricultural marketing and growing a successful farm business.
All four central Puget Sound counties have been working to support agriculture and the local food economy. King County recently initiated its Local Food Initiative to expand the local food economy and improve access to healthy food.
The Kitsap Food Policy Council was recently re-launched, and Snohomish County organizes the successful annual Focus on Farming event, in additional to regular planning and support for agriculture.
PSRC convenes monthly meetings of the Regional Food Policy Council, which brings together community, government, business and agricultural interests to develop policy recommendations to strengthen the regional food system. The next meeting is on March 14, 2014, 10 a.m.- 12:00 noon at PSRC.
A discussion of the economic evaluation of the regional impacts of the proposed Gateway Pacific terminal at Cherry Point is scheduled for PSRC’s Executive Board meeting on Thursday, February 27 at 10 am.
PSRC is leading a study on the regional economic impacts of the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point in Whatcom County.
The briefing will include a report on the background work that has been completed to date and will also provide an opportunity for the consultant team to receive input from board members as the research continues. The discussion will continue at the April 24 Executive Board meeting.
The Executive Board will also act an a recommendation to create a Regional Transit-Oriented Development Advisory Committee and the Regional Centers Monitoring Report.
See the full agenda here.