Super big ship in port!

The Northwest Seaport Alliance, the new cooperative shipping operations between the Seattle and Tacoma ports, is hosting the Benjamin Franklin on a test call to see how well the region’s port infrastructure can handle the new larger container ships.

The largest container ship to ever visit the United States is docked at Terminal 18, near West Seattle.

The largest container ship to ever visit the United States is docked at Terminal 18, near West Seattle.

The Benjamin Franklin is 18,000 TEUs, the largest ship to ever come to the U.S.

Container ships are getting bigger, generally up to 10,000 TEUs from 6,000 ten years ago.

The visit is designed to show the future competitiveness of the ports as ship sizes increase.

To date, Terminal 18 is the only facility of the Seaport Alliance’s that can handle an 18,000 TEU container ship. Plans to upsize Terminal 15 are in the works.

The Benjamin Franklin will be unloading electronic goods from China and loading agricultural products from eastern Washington.

The Northwest Seaport Alliance ports are the third-largest container gateway in North America and its marine cargo operations support more than 48,000 jobs.


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Project in Pierce County to complete core HOV system

The HOV Connector project at SR 16 and I-5 in Pierce County is starting its final phase.

map of HOV Connector project

The HOV Connector project will build new bridge structures and direct-access ramps to connect I-5 HOV lanes to SR 16 HOV lanes.

The Executive Board adopted an amendment adding the project to the Regional Transportation Improvement Program at its meeting this week.

In this stage of the project, crews will build ramps that create new high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes between I-5 and SR 16. The project will also realign I-5 to accommodate HOV ramps.

When complete, drivers will be able to continue using an HOV lane while merging onto I-5 or SR 16.

These structures will create the last link within a core HOV system that will stretch from Gig Harbor to Everett.

It’s a major, multi-year effort that the Washington State Department of Transportation expects to be complete in 2020.

Nominate projects for the VISION 2040 Awards until May 20

Something cool happening where you live? PSRC is now accepting nominations for its annual VISION 2040 Awards program until May 20, 2016.

Nominate projects, plans and programs for the VISION 2040 Awards until May 20, 2016.

Nominate projects, plans and programs for the VISION 2040 Awards until May 20, 2016.

The awards recognize the superb work being done to achieve the region’s growth, economic, and transportation strategy, VISION 2040.

Arlington Mayor Pro Tem Debora Nelson will Chair the Awards Selection Committee.

PSRC honors businesses, local governments, and non-profit organizations who do creative work to provide transportation access and mobility, enhance our natural environment, bring jobs closer to where people live, focus high quality housing where the infrastructure needed to support it already exists, and improve the quality of life in the central Puget Sound region.

Previous award winners include Kitsap Forest and Bay, Marion Green Townhomes, and Tacoma’s Regional Growth Center Plan.

Award nomination materials are available here or by contacting Michele Leslie at 206-587-4819,

Nominations will be accepted until May 20, 2016 and the awards presented to winners on location throughout the summer.


Go get ’em, TIGER! $500 million available

A new opportunity to apply for $500 million in TIGER funding has been announced by the USDOT.

Ten projects in the region have secured TIGER funding in the past.

Ten projects in the region have secured TIGER funding in the past.

TIGER discretionary grants fund capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure and are awarded on a competitive basis to projects that will have a significant impact on the nation, a metropolitan area, or a region.

The 2016 TIGER grant program will focus on capital projects that generate economic development and improve access to reliable, safe and affordable transportation for communities, both urban and rural.

The central Puget Sound region has been very successful in TIGER funding awards in the previous 7 rounds, with 10 projects receiving $172 million in funding.

This round of TIGER was made possible by Senator Murray fighting to include the program in the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus which Congress passed in December 2015.

The deadline for submissions to USDOT is April 29, 2016 at 5pm.

Unlike last year there is no pre-application process.



Competition for PSRC funding begins

PSRC has issued the first call for projects for the nearly $700 million in funding that will be available through 2020.

This flyer outlines key dates for applying for PSRC Funding.

This flyer outlines key dates for applying for PSRC Funding.

This funding is available via two different categories of federal money, Federal Highways and Federal Transit, and four different selection processes.

Workshops will be held in each county to help sponsors apply for funding:

  • King County – Tuesday, March 1 from 2pm-3:30pm
  • Kitsap County – Thursday, March 3 from 12:30pm-2pm
  • Pierce County – Tuesday, March 1 from 10am-11:30am
  • Snohomish County – Wednesday, March 2 from 9:30am-11am

Other dates to remember:

  • March 11: Eligibility Form for Regional Competition Due
  • April 13: Applications for Regional Competition Due
  • May 6: Countywide Screening Form Due
  • May and June: Project Selection Recommendations Made
  • September 8: Public Comment Begins.

See the 2016 Schedule for more information and key dates.





Region gained 54,000-plus jobs in 2015

In 2015 the central Puget Sound region gained 54,300 jobs, marking the fifth consecutive year of job growth.

2015jobsThe region added a total of 241,300 wage and salary jobs over the past five years.

In the previous five years,  2005 through 2010, the region lost  6,600 jobs.

5yearjobchartFrom 2010 through 2015, job gains were recorded within King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap counties.

The data is available at Puget Sound Trends.

It is compiled from the state Employment Security Department’s seasonally adjusted estimates for January.


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New members join PSRC’s Executive Board

More than a dozen elected leaders will be new to serving as members or alternates on PSRC’s Executive Board this year.

Seattle Councilmember Rob Johnson is newly appointed to PSRC's Executive Board.

Seattle Councilmember Rob Johnson is newly appointed to PSRC’s Executive Board.

Representatives to the board are appointed by the local jurisdictions they represent.

New members include:  Seattle Councilmember Rob Johnson; Seattle Councilmember Mike O’Brien; Bellevue Mayor John Stokes; Port of Bremerton Commissioner Cary Bozeman; Kirkland Deputy Mayor Jay Arnold; Orting Mayor Joe Pestinger; and Transportation Commissioner Shiv Batra.

New alternates include: Seattle Councilmember Debora Juarez; Seattle Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez; Woodinville Mayor Bernie Talmas; Duvall Mayor Will Ibershof; and Transportation Commissioner Hester Serebrin.

Former alternates now appointed as members include: Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus; Snohomish County Councilmember Terry Ryan; and Port of Seattle Commissioner John Creighton.

The board’s new vice president is Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers.

The next meeting of the Executive Board will be on Thursday, February 25, 10 – 11:30 a.m. Items on the agenda:

  • Discussion of the proposed Sumner-Pacific Manufacturing/Industrial Center
  • Certification of comprehensive plans for Everett, Lake Forest Park, Mill Creek, Monroe, Seattle, Snohomish County, Tacoma, University Place and Woodinville
  • Adding WSDOT’s I-5/SR 16 Interchange – HOV Connections Project to the Regional Transportation Improvement Program
  • Approving the PSRC Supplemental Biennial Budget and Work Program
  • An overview of the new federal transportation law, the FAST Act

You can see the full Executive Board agenda or watch the meeting here.