$850 million available for FASTLANE infrastructure

The USDOT has announced another $850 million funding competition for FASTLANE program.

Thanks to the FASTLANE program, Seattle's Lander Street Overpass will be complete in 2020.

Thanks to the FASTLANE program, Seattle’s Lander Street Overpass will be complete in 2020.

New from the FAST Act, the program provides dedicated, discretionary funding for projects that address critical freight issues facing our nation’s highways and bridges.

The region was very successful in securing funding during the funding program’s inaugural grant cycle. The South Lander Street Grade Separation and Railroad Safety Project received $45 million and Strander Boulevard Extension and Grade Separation Phase 3 received $5 million.

This past summer, PSRC led a regional effort in close coordination with WSDOT to designate Critical Urban Freight Corridors, including strategic regional locations in the National Highway Freight Network specifically to even better compete in funding programs like this one.

The deadline for submitting applications is 8:00PM on December 15, 2016. The Department of Transportation will review all eligible applications submitted at http://www.grants.gov.

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PSRC wins awards for work to support manufacturing

PSRC’s efforts to grow manufacturing in central Puget Sound and statewide have received Innovation Awards from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO).

One of the award winning projects: a composite recycling center that transforms carbon fiber scrap into value-added products.

One of the award winning projects: a composite recycling center that transforms carbon fiber scrap into value-added products.

NADO honored PSRC for three efforts that emerged from participation in the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership of the Economic Development Administration.

The designation as a Manufacturing Community has helped the region bring in more than $45 million in federal grants supporting manufacturing.

With a successful launch at PSRC, the Manufacturing Community effort now has a new home at the Washington Department of Commerce, which is working to extend the program’s reach to strengthen communities statewide.

The three award-winning projects are:

Manufacturing Communities Partnership – 24 regions around the country are collaborating to maximize their designation through the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership program.  PSRC took the lead on developing the partnership’s website, which includes a grants list, map, and other resources.

Composite Recycling Technology Center – This is the world’s first facility to transform uncured carbon fiber scrap, previously destined for the landfill, into innovative new products. For the economically distressed city of Port Angeles, the center will create good-paying jobs and train students for the growing field of composite manufacturing, composite structure fabrication, and repair. The project is part of the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership strategy.

NextGen LEAN – This pilot project tested whether the Next Generation LEAN program could help small- and medium-size manufacturers bring costs down and cut production time to make them more competitive.

All of the award winners are presented on NADO’s interactive “Story Map.”

NADO is a Washington, DC-based association that promotes programs and policies that strengthen local governments, communities, and economies through regional cooperation, program delivery, and comprehensive strategies.

The association’s Innovation Awards program recognizes regional development organizations and their partners for improving the economic and community competitiveness of our nation’s regions and local communities.

For more information about the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership program, contact Sarah Lee at sarah.lee@commerce.wa.gov.


SR 520 Bridge Replacement Program Wins VISION 2040 Award

The Washington State Department of Transportation and its many partners in the SR 520 Bridge Replacement have won a 2016 VISION 2040 Award for the new floating bridge. The awards recognize innovative projects and programs that help ensure a sustainable future as the region grows.

Josh Brown, PSRC, Elizabeth Kiker, Cascade Bicycle Club, Amy Scranton, WSDOT, Julie Meredith, WSDOT, and Mayor John Marchione, Redmond at the awards presentation at PSRC today.

Josh Brown, PSRC, Elizabeth Kiker, Cascade Bicycle Club, Amy Scranton, WSDOT, Julie Meredith, WSDOT, and Mayor John Marchione, Redmond at the awards presentation at PSRC today.

“Getting to the new bridge was a two decade, truly regional endeavor,” said Josh Brown, Executive Director of PSRC. “We wanted to recognize the endurance leadership required to make this happen.”

The new bridge provides a safer, more reliable, more environmentally sustainable link between the two economic hubs on either side of Lake Washington.

Partners in the work include: Federal Highway Administration, City of Medina, City of Seattle, King County, King County Metro, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, Sound Transit, University of Washington, U.S. Coast Guard, Washington Department of Ecology, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington Department of Natural Resources and Cascade Bicycle Club.


Funding available for brownfield clean up and assessment

Grants from the Environmental Protection Agency are available to help jurisdictions fund assessment and cleanup of brownfields.

The Hilltop Community Health Center in Tacoma was built on a brownfield site.

The Hilltop Community Health Center in Tacoma was built on a brownfield site.

Brownfields are industrial or commercial areas that may have hazardous contaminants. If safely cleaned up, this land can be put back into productive use.

Assessment grants can be used to inventory and prioritize brownfields, and conduct environmental site assessments. Cleanup grants are for specific projects like former gas stations or manufacturing facilities.

The VISION 2040 strategy calls for redeveloping brownfields in the region to help revitalize communities, use urban land efficiently, and promote sustainable development.

The deadline for the next round of brownfields assessment and cleanup grants is coming up on December 20.

Resources to help your jurisdiction apply for funding, including an applicant webinar, is available on EPA’s brownfields webpage.

The Center for Creative Land Recycling (CCLR) can provide free review of your draft EPA Assessment and Cleanup proposals.

Rob Gannon named General Manager for Metro Transit

Executive Dow Constantine has tapped Rob Gannon to serve as General Manager for Metro Transit.

photo of Rob Gannon

As Metro’s GM, Gannon would oversee implementation of the Metro Connects plan, which calls for increasing bus service by 70 percent and doubling ridership.

“As our region grows, so does demand for transit. Rob is the right person to lead the agency in this time of tremendous change and opportunity,” said Constantine.

Gannon previously served as Interim General Manager after the departure of Kevin Desmond last spring.  Before then, Gannon was Metro Deputy General Manager from 2013 to 2016, and Human Resources Manager for the King County Department of Transportation from 2011 to 2013.

Gannon said he will focus on safety and reliability for customers and operators, implementing the agency’s long-range plan Metro Connects, and strengthening Metro as a great place to work.

Gannon’s appointment requires confirmation by the King County Council.

PSRC inviting public comment on updated SEPA procedures

PSRC is updating its policies and procedures for complying with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) and is seeking public comment on the proposed changes.

Comments encouraged on PSRC's SEPA policies through December 1.

Comments encouraged on PSRC’s SEPA policies through December 1.

The proposed updates to PSRC’s SEPA procedures primarily consist of minor improvements for clarity and consistency with the SEPA rules, and a change to the appeal process and public notification steps. 

The public comment period will run from October 20 to December 1, 2016. Written comments received by November 17 will be included in the agenda packet for the Operations Committee.

You can view the SEPA materials online or request them from the Information Center at (206) 464-7532. 

How to make a comment:

Email: Erika Harris at eharris@psrc.org

U.S. Mail: ATTN: Erika Harris, 1011 Western Ave, Suite 500, Seattle, WA 98104

In person: Operations Committee meeting on December 1 at PSRC.

On December 1, the Operations Committee is scheduled to act on recommending the changes to the Executive Board, which will vote on the recommendation later that morning.

Historic Wilburton Trestle to become new elevated trail

King County has a plan and much of the funding to transform the century-old Wilburton Trestle in Bellevue into an elevated trail for walking and cycling by 2020.

King County Exec Dow Constantine, Gov. Jay Inslee, and other regional leaders announced the Wilburton project on Tuesday.

Executive Dow Constantine, Governor Jay Inslee, Councilmember Claudia Balducci and other regional leaders announced the Wilburton project on Tuesday.

Users of the trail will have a spectacular view.  The trestle is almost 1,000 feet long and more than 100 feet above the ground.

On October 18, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced commitments that will fund $10 million of the total cost of $13.2 million. PSRC is contributing $500,000 to the project.

The PSRC funding is part of a $2 million award to the Eastside Rail Corridor Wilburton segment through Bellevue.

The Eastside Rail Corridor is a 16.7-mile trail that will connect Renton, Bellevue, Kirkland, Woodinville and Redmond.

In July, King County released the Final Master Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, which identifies a Preferred Alternative trail alignment for the corridor.

Here’s a video showing a birds-eye view of the trestle.