Transportation package awaits final approval in House and Senate

The biggest transportation investment in the region’s history awaits action by the state legislature – in the final hours of what’s expected to be the final day of a brief special session.

Senator Curtis King

Senator Curtis King of Yakima leads action in the state Senate last night on “the most important transportation investment in our region’s history.” (TVW)

Last night the Senate approved funding for the package 39 to 9.

Just two Senators representing the region – Sen. Pam Roach of Auburn and Sen. Kirk Pearson of Monroe – voted no.

Early today the House began action on transportation reform measures.

The House awaits action on the three main elements of the compromise announced yesterday.

The Senate must still act on one more – the budget bill, which spells out how funds will be spent.

PSRC staff has prepared information on new funding sources and uses in the package, along with a list of $6.8 billion in specific projects in the region that would be funded.

Governor Jay Inslee is expected to sign the state operating fund budget “later this evening” to avert a partial state government shutdown tomorrow.

The Governor has encouraged the state legislature to approve the compromise transportation package by today.

 


“Most important transportation investment in our region’s history.”

State leaders appear poised to enact a comprehensive transportation package.

SR520June2015

The package includes $1.6 billion to replace the seismically deficient west end of the Highway 520 through Seattle.

The negotiated compromise released this afternoon includes an unprecedented $16 billion investment in the state transportation system – and provides voters with the chance to improve local roads, transit and ferry connections.

Redmond Mayor John Marchione, the President of the Puget Sound Regional Council, said:

“The transportation package state leaders put forward today is the most important transportation investment in our region’s history.

It will shore up fragile structures, complete our roadway network, and allow the region’s voters the chance to finally connect our major cities with light rail.

We could not be more grateful for their leadership.”

Agreement on a transportation package came as the state legislature entered its third special session this year.

Votes on the package are expected as early as tomorrow.

Governor Jay Inslee issued a statement saying: “I urge legislators to finish the job and pass this package by Tuesday so I can sign it as soon as possible.”


Region on pace to surpass 4 million people

Sometime in 2016 the central Puget Sound region is expected to be home to over 4 million people.

Forecast

By 2040 the region is expected to be home to 28 percent more people and 40 percent more jobs.

New population estimates from the state show an overall 2015 population just shy of 3.9 million with an annual growth rate of 1.65 percent since 2014.

The state’s population now exceeds 7 million people – 55 percent of whom live within King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties.

Snohomish County grew by 2.24 percent, outpacing the growth rate of all other counties in the state.

King County’s population grew by 35,500 people – more than any other county – and more than double Snohomish County’s additional 16,600 people.

2015 Population Estimates

King County

2,052,800

Pierce County

830,120

Snohomish County

757,600

Kitsap County

258,200

REGION  TOTAL

3,898,720

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Issaquah’s urban core becomes 29th regional growth center

New housing, jobs, shopping, and parks are all part of the future for central Puget Sound’s newest regional growth center in Issaquah. 

Issaquah's growth center is ...

The orange shows the location of Issaquah’s regional growth center.

On Thursday PSRC’s Executive Board approved Issaquah’s application for regional growth center designation.

Regional growth centers are a key part of the regional growth strategy in VISION 2040.  They’re places that are planned to attract significant growth of housing and jobs over the coming decades.

Supporting centers and the corridors that serve them is one of the main criteria for selecting projects to receive PSRC’s federal transportation funds.

The city’s Central Issaquah Plan aims to transform the center —  currently a collection of strip malls, office buildings and parking lots —  into a vibrant, walkable community.

Issaquah is planning for up to 7,000 new housing units and 19,000 new jobs within the center by the year 2031.

The city has a great video all about plans for the center.

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Tacoma wins VISION 2040 Award

Tacoma has won a 2015 VISION 2040 Award from the Puget Sound Regional Council for its Regional Growth Center plan.

Josh Brown presenting the award in Tacoma. The awards recognize innovative projects and programs that help ensure a sustainable future as the region grows.

Josh Brown presenting the award in Tacoma. The awards recognize innovative projects and programs that help ensure a sustainable future as the region grows.

The Downtown Tacoma Regional Growth Center Plan is a compilation of the subarea plans and planned action environmental work for the Hilltop, South Downtown and North Downtown neighborhoods. The plan has led to increased grant funding, revitalized development, and helped Sound Transit and Amtrak locate efficiently.

“Strong center planning is crucial to the success of the region. It is the backbone of achieving mobility with growth, using our resources wisely, and developing a sense of place,” said Josh Brown, Executive Director of the Puget Sound Regional Council.

VISION 2040 is the region’s growth management, economic, and transportation strategy, designed to meet the needs of the 5 million people expected to be living in the region in 2040. It is an integrated, long-range vision for the future that lays out a strategy for maintaining a healthy region – promoting the well-being of people and communities, economic vitality, and a healthy environment.

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Kitsap Coalition wins VISION 2040 Award

Forterra, Great Peninsula Conservancy, Kitsap County, Kitsap Forest and Bay Coalition, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe and Suquamish Tribe have won a 2015 VISION 2040 Award from the Puget Sound Regional Council for the Kitsap Forest and Bay conservation project.

The awards recognize innovative projects and programs that help ensure a sustainable future as the region grows.

PSRC Executive Director Josh Brown presenting the award. The awards recognize innovative projects and programs that help ensure a sustainable future as the region grows.

The Kitsap Forest and Bay project will preserve up to 6,700 acres of forest, wetlands and shoreline surrounding Port Gamble Bay in north Kitsap County. Much of this is already underway with secured funding or pending grants that are leveraged by local funds.

“This is a major environmental preservation effort that will have the added benefits of sustaining cultural resources, supporting enterprises, and connecting trail systems,” said Josh Brown, Executive Director of the Puget Sound Regional Council.

VISION 2040 is the region’s growth management, economic, and transportation strategy, designed to meet the needs of the 5 million people expected to be living in the region in 2040. It is an integrated, long-range vision for the future that lays out a strategy for maintaining a healthy region – promoting the well-being of people and communities, economic vitality, and a healthy environment.

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New passenger-only ferry service in the works

Residents of Kitsap County traveling to Seattle could have a faster commute under a Kitsap Transit plan for new passenger-only ferry service.

Kitsap Transit is proposing to partner with King County operate and manage new ferry service.

Kitsap Transit is proposing to partner with King County to  operate and manage fast ferry service between Kitsap and downtown Seattle.

The agency recently launched the Ferry Connections website, which provides details on the plan and opportunity for people to comment.

The plan proposes six daily round-trips each for three routes from Bremerton, Kingston and Southworth to downtown Seattle.

Passenger-only ferry service and King County bus service from downtown Seattle would be integrated for a seamless commute.

Over the next year, Kitsap Transit will refine the business plan based on public input, work with the state legislature on additional funding options and develop alternative capital funding and phasing plans.

A local revenue source will be necessary to supplement capital costs not covered by grants and to subsidize operating costs beyond those covered by farebox revenues.

It’s anticipated that grant funding could help pay for a portion of terminal improvements and vessel acquisition.

New passenger-only ferry service between downtown Seattle and Bremerton, Kingston, and Southworth is part of the region’s long-range Transportation 2040 plan.

The 2014 Regional Travel Study found that about 14 percent of the Kitsap workforce commutes to jobs in King County.

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