Murray, Cantwell, Smith Announce Over $41 million for South Sound Priorities in Surface Transportation Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and U.S. Representative Adam Smith today declared victory in their efforts to secure critical federal funding for the South Sound’s transportation priorities. The three secured over $41 million for the region in legislation reauthorizing surface transportation spending through 2009.

SAFETEA-LU, which the House will pass tonight and is expected to clear the Senate tomorrow, sets the funding levels for highways, ferries, and transit programs through 2009.

"With the leadership of Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, I'm pleased that we have been able to provide urgently needed dollars for projects in our state and the Ninth District," said U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Tacoma). "While more needs to be done to relieve congestion and improve the quality of life for our citizens, the SAFETEA-LU transportation bill represents real bipartisan progress in addressing our regional needs. I will continue working with local stakeholders and others in our delegation to craft real transportation solutions that will enhance our productivity and ensure that the South Puget Sound remains a great place to live and do business."

"I am proud to have partnered with Rep. Smith and Sen. Cantwell to stand up for the transportation needs of the South Puget Sound," Senator Murray said. "In a tough budget year, under tough conditions, we stood together to make the investments that will create jobs, improve safety and lay the foundation for our region’s future economic growth."

"We need to think of these federal funds as an investment. These are well spent dollars that will create jobs, improve our quality of life, and literally keep our economy moving," Senator Cantwell said. "I'm proud of the way the delegation has worked together in these tight financial times to make sure Washington gets the improvements our communities need."

9th Congressional District Projects:

State Route 167 - $9.5 million: This funding will help complete State Route 167, which will connect the Port of Tacoma at State Route 509 to Puyallup at State Route 161. This project will improve freight mobility, provide congestion relief, and enhance safety.

Cross Base Highway - $3.2 million: Funding will help build a new six-mile high way from I-5 to State Route 7, between Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base. It will also link I-5 with the mid-Pierce County area, where the Frederickson High Intensity Employment Center (including the Boeing plant) and the Dupont area (located approximately 5 miles south on I-5 and the site of the Intel computer chip manufacturing and R/D plant) are located.

Yelm 510/507 - $2 million: Funding is provided to conduct engineering, design and right-of-way acquisition for the construction of an alternative route to two highways that bisect the heart of downtown Yelm. Once constructed, the Yelm "Loop" would divert traffic around the backlogged intersections of State Route 510 and State Route 507. This project would create a smoother flow of traffic and create greater capacity for economic growth in Yelm.

Renton 405/167 - $1.6 million: Funding rebuilds the interchange of two vital transportation corridors, State Route 167 and Interstate-405, by adding additional lanes. It will help to reduce long waits in traffic at a critical choke point in the regions traffic flow and ease the commute of thousands of people in the Puget Sound region.

Tukwila Urban Access - $2.550 million: This funding addresses necessary congestion improvements to the Southcenter Parkway, between Tukwila Parkway and 61st Avenue South and South 168th Street. This area is the primary entry/exit point into this major regional retail and warehousing area.

State Route 518 from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to I-405 - $5 million: This project funds improvements along the State Route 518 corridor. It will increase access to Sea-Tac Airport and the surrounding cities of Burien, SeaTac and Tukwila. It provides for the safe and efficient movement of people and goods in the region.

Port of Tacoma Road - $400,000: This funding allows for a second left turn lane to be constructed from westbound Pacific Highway to Port of Tacoma Road. Identified as a necessary improvement, this project is critical to the planned extension of State Route 167 into the Port of Tacoma and will increase capacity at a highly congested intersection. In addition, the project will also include pedestrian and bicycle improvements along the full length of the project.

Lincoln Avenue Grade Separation Project in Tacoma - $2.3 million: The Lincoln Avenue grade separation project in Tacoma will construct an 1,100 foot, four lane concrete viaduct over five existing railroad lines. This is part of several planned improvements in the Port area of Tacoma and will eliminate the long waits that currently hamper freight mobility at this rail crossing.

Valley Avenue/70th Avenue - $800,000: The project would widen both 70th Avenue East and Valley Ave East in Pierce County. The project widens 70th Avenue East from 2 to 5 lanes, from 20th Street East to Valley Avenue East, and will also widen Valley Avenue East from 2 to 4 lanes, from 70th Avenue East to Freeman Road East. Once completed, the improvements will reduce congestion and enhance safety at an important point of access for freight to the Port of Tacoma.

Kent Willis UP Tracks - $800,000: The Willis Street (SR 516) UP Railroad Grade Separation Project will construct a bridge for the Union Pacific railroad and reconstruct Willis Street to pass underneath the UP tracks. This project is a critical step towards providing a more seamless passage for rail and truck freight through the Green River Valley. It eliminates rail/vehicle at-grade conflicts that slow the movement of truck freight between the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma and the warehousing complex in the Valley.

Federal Way Triangle - $5.6 million: The Federal Way Triangle project will reconstruct the interchange at the intersection of I-5, State Route 18 and State Route 161. This overburdened interchange is the fifth-busiest in the State and has been identified by the Washington State Department of Transportation as a "High Accident Location." This project will provide relief and increased safety for commuters and businesses moving goods in the region.

Burien Town Square Roadway and Pedestrian Improvements - $4 million: The City of Burien is redeveloping 10 acres of underutilized property in downtown Burien to support economic development and affordable housing. This funding will allow for an extension of 6th Avenue, connections to Burien’s transit center with an emphasis on pedestrian use and safety, and the development of streets within the Town Square project.

Tukwila Southcenter Parkway Extension - $3 million: Funding will be used to relocate, widen, and improve Southcenter Parkway between south 180th Street and south 200th. This extension will provide access to the Tukwila South Development project.

Kent I-5/272nd Street SPUI - $800,000: This single point urban interchange (SPUI) under Interstate-5 will be constructed at South 272nd Street. This project will relieve congestion and add capacity for an integrated regional HOV-transit system. The community surrounding the interchange will benefit with the efficient movement of freight, faster commutes and increased safety.