PSRC seeking new non-voting members for boards

PSRC is looking for interest groups to serve as non-voting representatives on the Transportation Policy Board and Growth Management Policy Board.

Is your community group interested in being on a PSRC Board? Apply now!

Is your community group interested in being on a PSRC Board? Apply now!

Each board has openings in the categories of business/labor and community/environment.  The seats are for three-year terms.

Interest groups that would like to apply should do so by 5 p.m. on Friday, September 5, 2014.

Applications will be reviewed and selected by the policy board chairs and leadership at the PSRC. The decision will be made in September for new members to be seated in early October 2014.

 

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New South Park Bridge to open

The South Park community is having a grand opening celebration for the new South Park Bridge on Sunday, June 29.

Grand celebration for the new South Park Bridge is on Sunday. (Photo: King County)

Party for the new South Park Bridge is on Sunday. (Photo: King County)

In 2010, PSRC approved $15 million in funding for the bridge, which helped the county secure funding from additional federal grants to complete the replacement project.

PSRC began funding efforts to replace the South Park Bridge in 1999 and provided additional funds in 2002, 2006, and 2009 (over $9 million). The bridge serves two regionally designated  Manufacturing and Industrial Centers which together support roughly 80,000 jobs.

Maintaining and preserving the region’s transportation infrastructure is the highest priority in the region’s Transportation 2040 plan. This includes replacing key vulnerable structures.

The new bridge is expected to carry 20,000 vehicles and nearly 3,000 heavy-duty trucks each day. It will also carry an estimated 10 million tons of freight each year, including aerospace parts to local Boeing facilities.

The event will begin at noon. The official dedication ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. Festivities will include a parade across the bridge and a street party featuring music and other performances, as well as food and drink vendors. Participants will be able to walk across the bridge and tour its south tower.

More details about the bridge opening and celebration are available here. The bridge will officially open to vehicle traffic on Monday, June 29.

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PSRC’s Executive Board to act on three transportation funding decisions

Three separate funding actions will be taken at PSRC’s Executive Board meeting on Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 10 a.m. in the Boardroom at 1011 Western Ave Suite 500, Seattle, WA 98104.

Over $40 million in transportation funding will be decided on at Thursday's Executive Board Meeting.

Over $40 million in transportation funding will be decided on at Thursday’s Executive Board Meeting.

The three transportation funding sources are: an unanticipated additional $22 million for transit, $20 million for 19 shovel-ready projects, and a $700,000 reallocation for Pierce County projects.

Also on the agenda are changes to transit representation the Transportation Policy Board, an update to a special needs program management plan, and a routine amendment to the Regional Transportation Improvement Program.

See the full agenda here.

 

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Region to Congress: Save transportation projects

The region’s congressional delegation is hearing from about 100 regional leaders:

Make sure we can count on $2.7 billion for transit, roads, bridges, ferries, trails and other transportation priorities already underway in the region over the next few years.

Link

Light rail to Husky Stadium is expected to be in service early next year. Sound Transit’s University LINK project relies in part on $214 million in federal funds. (Sound Transit photo of tunnel construction in 2013.)

“That funding is essential to over 500 projects and programs that are building better communities, growing jobs and meeting the basic needs of people and businesses throughout the region,” they say in a letter to all nine of the region’s representatives in Congress.

The letter comes as Congress and the President have about a month to save the federal Highway Trust Fund from lapsing into the red.

The Obama Administration has warned state transportation officials of potential delays in  federal funding if Congress fails to act.

The letter was the inspiration of PSRC President, Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, after being briefed on the dire status of the trust fund last month.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, has held a hearing on new approaches to funding.

Wyden announced today that he’ll work to move a new $10 billion proposal out of the Finance Committee on Thursday.

Senator Patty Murray has been leading the charge on one bipartisan idea: Closing corporate tax loopholes.

House Republican leaders recently proposed ending mail service on Saturdays to pay for transportation – an idea since dropped.

Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio has proposed a barrel tax.

A bipartisan group of Senators has proposed a multi-year fix by raising the federal fuel tax by twelve cents over two years.

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Regional patterns of demographics, income, and housing cost

Demographic and income patterns are closely related across the region, according to PSRC’s latest Puget Sound Trend, Fair Housing in the Central Puget Sound Region.

Seola Gardens, a mixed-income housing development in White Center.

Seola Gardens, a mixed-income housing development in White Center.

The study found that minority households are more likely to live in census tracts where median household income falls below $45,000.

Census tracts in South King County and North Pierce County have a greater share of communities of color than the rest of the region. Median household incomes in those areas, and generally along the I-5 corridor, are significantly lower than in other parts of the region.

Because of the strong relationship between race and income, housing affordability in the region is a major factor affect­ing equity and access to fair housing.

fair-housing

Housing costs are lowest in South King County and Pierce County, and housing is least affordable in Seattle and East King County.

Persistent unaffordable housing costs, along with current and historic discrimination, have geographically separated lower-income households and households of color from higher income, white communities.

More analysis on fair housing is available here.

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Pierce County transportation projects set to receive $700,000 from PSRC

The Transportation Policy Board has recommended a funding reallocation for transportation projects in Pierce County.

This action would include $180,000 towards construction on Bridgeport Way in University Place.

This action would include $180,000 towards construction on Bridgeport Way in University Place.

About $721,000 in PSRC funds have been returned through the project tracking program by projects in Pierce County due to project cost savings and cancelations.

The transportation funding will be redistributed to priority projects on the county’s list.

The funding will go to four projects:

  • Puyallup’s Nonmotorized Transportation Plan
  • University Place’s Bridgeport Phase 5 Roadway Improvements
  • Pierce Transit’s Vanpool Replacement
  • Tacoma’s 2014 Sidewalk Reconstruction Program

For more information, contact Jeff Storrar at 206-587-4817 or jstorrar@psrc.org.

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Where’s Bertha?

The SR 99 tunnel machine known as Bertha is stopped about 60 feet underground between South Jackson and South Main streets and in need of some repairs.  So, what’s the plan?

Animation showing part of the tunnel machine being lifted out of the pit.

Animation showing part of the tunnel machine being lifted out of the pit for repair.

WSDOT just released a Seattle Tunnel Partners video showing how it will all work.

The tunnel contractor is building a 120-foot-deep circular pit in front of the machine.

When that’s done, Bertha will tunnel forward into the pit. Then crews will make repairs to the machine.  Bertha is expected to be ready to start tunneling again in March 2015.

The Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement is included the region’s long-range plan, Transportation 2040. This Transportation Improvement Program map shows the projects programmed for 2014-2016.  (Zoom in to see more detail.)

So far, more than a dozen projects that are part of the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement program have been completed. To learn more, go to WSDOT’s Alaskan Way Viaduct website.

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