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.





Feds seeking “transformative” freight projects

Get your freight project ready.

Pierce County is working on a big project to improve freight between Frederickson and the Port of Tacoma.

Pierce County is working on a big project to transform freight movement between Frederickson and the Port of Tacoma.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has announced the first guidance on a new federal grant program for freight.

A letter from Foxx outlines his direction.  A fact sheet provides current guidance.

The program was created within the FAST Act signed into law late last year.

Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, who led efforts to craft the program, spread the word today on the grants.

There’s $800 million available nationwide this year.

Grants will go to two categories of projects.

Projects that exceed $100 million in overall costs will be seeking grants for at least $25 million.

Ten percent of grant funds are set aside for smaller projects for grants of at least $5 million.

“My goal is to move expeditiously to fund promising freight and highway projects,” said Foxx, who is expected to select the first projects later this year following a 60 day review by Congress.


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West approach to 520 bridge fully funded

The Executive Board is poised to take an action that would allow the SR 520, I-5 to Floating Bridge project to move forward.

Connecting Washington funded the remaining portions of the SR 520 Bridge Replacement.

Connecting Washington funded the remaining portions of the SR 520 Bridge Replacement.

That action is to confirm the project meets all federal, state and local requirements and add it to the Regional Transportation Improvement Program. The Washington State Department of Transportation is scheduled to present the $4.56 billion project to the board at its meeting on January 28, 2016.

Connecting Washington, the recent transportation package adopted by the Legislature, will provide the final $1.64 billion needed for the west approach to the new bridge and fully fund the project.

PSRC began funding the project with the original Trans-Lake Study in 1997.

The floating bridge is scheduled to open this April and a community celebration is planned for the weekend of April 2. WSDOT will be working closely with the City of Seattle as the construction begins for the I-5 to the bridge portion in 2018.

See the full Executive Board agenda or watch the meeting here.

$7.7 million more for transit

Transit riders in the region will benefit from extra funding from the Federal Transit Administration for more than 20 projects.

The city of Seattle received funding to electrify route 48 as part of its 23rd Avenue Corridor Improvements project.

Funding is being proposed to help the City of Seattle electrify route 48 as part of its 23rd Avenue Corridor Improvements project.

The region’s transit agencies receive funds from the FTA based on a formula that considers service and operating characteristics. In general, the more passengers a transit agency serves, the more funding they are eligible for.

The exact funding amount is fine-tuned on an annual basis. This year’s adjustment means an additional $7.7 million for the region. Some of the projects recommended for funding include:

• $1 million for electrifying part of Route 48 in Seattle – converting the route from diesel to electric trolley bus between Cherry and John streets

• $370,398 for Kitsap Transit bus purchases

• $2,745,796 to Intercity Transit for coach and vanpool purchases and operations. Intercity Transit provides commuter service to the region.

• $325,843 for remodeling Skagit Transit’s maintenance facility. Skagit Transit is eligible for PSRC funding because of the commuter services it provides to the region. Since this is a newly proposed project, PSRC is inviting public comment on the funding recommendation.

The Transportation Policy Board made the recommendation to approve the funding at its meeting today. The Executive Board will take final action on January 28.

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PSRC funding in the spotlight

The next round of $700 million in PSRC funding will be decided on in 2016.

Doc Maynard, the new water taxi that debuted this week, was a recipient of PSRC funding. Since 2012, PSRC has provided a total of $1.3 million in federal funding to the King County Ferry District for vessel acquisition.

Doc Maynard, the new water taxi that debuted this week, was a recipient of PSRC funding. Since 2012, PSRC has provided a total of $1.3 million in federal funding to the King County Ferry District for vessel acquisition.

The Transportation Policy Board is set to recommend the policy direction for this funding at its meeting on January 14, 2016. The draft policy framework continues to focus on support for centers and corridors, strengthens criteria for equity and air quality, and asks for more information on innovation.

The board will also be recommending projects for two programs that had higher than expected funding amounts.

PSRC has an additional $7.7 million in FTA funds to distribute to the region’s transit agencies for projects they submit. These funds are part of an adjustment based on transit services provided to the region.

Skagit Transit, which provides commuter transit services to the Puget Sound region, has submitted a brand new project for this funding. PSRC is asking for public comment on a $325,843 funding recommendation for Skagit Transit’s Maintenance Operations and Administration Facility. The funding would be used for design and engineering services to remodel the newly acquired facility.

An additional $79,676 is also available to partially fund two special needs projects on the contingency list:  one King County Metro project and the Hyde Shuttle run by Senior Services of King County.

The meeting will also include a recommendation on Issaquah’s plan for its Regional Growth Center and an amendment to the SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Project.

See the full Transportation Policy Board meeting agenda here, watch the meeting here next week.






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Stillaguamish Valley looks ahead after Oso slide

PSRC’s Executive Board welcomed the Mayors of Arlington and Darrington, Barbara Tolbert and Dan Rankin, for a presentation on the new North Stillaguamish Economic Redevelopment Plan.

The new North Stillaguamish Economic Redevelopment Plan highlights the area's natural beauty as an important resource.

The new North Stillaguamish Economic Redevelopment Plan highlights the area’s natural beauty as an important resource.

“The way the Stillaguamish Valley has come together to chart its economic future is another great example of leadership following the Oso slide.” said PSRC Executive Director Josh Brown.

The economic analysis supporting the plan showed a declining resource economy, an increasing role for industry, and more population close to the urban area.

The goals of the plan are to develop infrastructure to better connect the community, build jobs, support community and workforce development, improve resilience, create a stronger sense of place, and develop rural innovations.

Some strategies to achieve these goals include improvements to recreational infrastructure to attract people to the area, foster a innovation ecosystem around Valley entrepreneurialism, and advancement resource based industry clusters.


Bellevue Mayor Claudia Balducci, Arlington Mayor Barb Tolbert and Darrington Mayor Dan Rankin at the Executive Board today.

The presentation to the Executive Board helped shine a spotlight on the Valley with coverage from KIRO-TV and KOMO-TV.

In other action, the Executive Board granted projects in Kent and Tacoma exceptions that will allow each to keep federal funds managed by PSRC.

The Board also did its annual performance review of PSRC’s Executive Director.

You can see the full agenda here, and watch the meeting here.


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Region takes another step towards Eastside light rail

Two East Link light rail projects have cleared environmental, financial and planning requirements to move forward.

East Link is expected to have 50,000 daily riders by 2030.

East Link is expected to have 50,000 daily riders by 2030.

“This is a great day for the region to take another step in finally connecting the Eastside to the light rail system. A big part of the job and population growth in the region will take place on the Eastside, and East Link is an extremely important piece of how we’re going to support the jobs and people headed our way,” said Redmond Mayor John Marchione, President of the Puget Sound Regional Council. 

PSRC’s Executive Board authorized the change in Transportation 2040 project status for Sound Transit East Link Light Rail Extension and Bellevue Way HOV Lanes and Transit Priority.

The board was briefed on the just enacted 2015 state transportation package that could result in an estimated $26 billion in transportation improvements within the region.

About $1.2 billion in funding could be at risk according to a staff analysis by PSRC.  Should the state proceed with enforcement of a new cleaner fuel standard, funds collected for about $1.2 billion in transit, freight, school safety, rail, special needs and other transportation programs would be transferred to a fund restricted for highway purposes starting July 1, 2016.

It is unclear when Governor Jay Inslee will make what he’s called, “a tough decision.”

The board also approved $3 million in funding for Rural Town Centers and Corridors projects and conferred on the results of the 2014 Puget Sound Regional Travel Study.