Transportation dollars to benefit Upper Valley
October 2, 2008 · Updated 2:58 PM
SNOQUALMIE - Despite the onset of Initiative 695, the state's
Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) feels comfortable in going to
the Washington State Legislature with a request for $167.5 million in
transportation project funding. Of that amount, $31 million will go directly to
projects in King County, including several in the Snoqualmie Valley.
The key will be in getting authorization from the Legislature to
include the request in Washington's 2001-2003 budget. However, King
County Councilman Rob McKenna is confident the funding authorization
will survive the state budget process.
"This is a highly effective use of gas tax revenues and federal
transportation funds," he said. "Despite
Initiative 695, we are moving ahead with major transportation programs
and smaller projects that make a difference in local communities."
The state created the TIB to administer funding to local
government transportation projects. McKenna, who represents the county's sixth
district, serves as the vice-chairman of the board, which allocates
revenue from the gas tax in combination with federal money, local matching
funds and private sector contributions.
"A number of the projects in the Valley are coming out of
federal funds," McKenna said. "The
Legislature has always accepted the recommendations of the Transportation
Improvement Board. The transportation budget is separate and is
routinely adopted by the Legislature."
Of the $31million, $24 million in funding is targeted for major
arterial needs in the urban areas of the county. The remainder goes to the rural
areas including Valley projects. For Snoqualmie proper, this
includes $300,000 towards Park Street projects and $225,000 for the design and
acquisition of a right-of-way for a trail bridge over the Snoqualmie River.
"We put in for three grants, or at least part of all three," said
Snoqualmie Public Works Director Gary Armstrong. "The work done so far
on Park Street is only a portion. This new [funding] is a new grant from the
small city account. It will involve total reconstruction beginning
at Meadowbrook and extending south to the new park entrance at the tree farm.
"Park Street also received additional funding under a small city
pedestrian grant program totaling $74,000. It will put in new
sidewalks on both sides of Park from Schusman to Newton Street."
Armstrong said the new crossing of the Snoqualmie River came
under a regional enhancement grant utilizing TEA-21 (Transportation
Equity Account-21st century) funds. The structure will carry pedestrians
and utilities across the river immediately east of the existing road bridge.
"The bridge will be a public-private partnership with
Weyerhaeuser and King County," he added. "It
will become a critical link to other trails in the region. We have $225,000 and
already have $86,000 in place from another TEA-21 source."
In North Bend, $237,000 will be allocated for two miles of
pedestrian and bike trails near the Meadowbrook Farm site. In addition, the
Northwestern Railway Museum will receive $257,200 to restore the historic
old Northern Pacific bridge over the South Fork of the Snoqualmie.
Museum Curator Richard Anderson said the historic crossing is now one of the
oldest bridges standing in King County.
"It's a through-in connected truss, a really old style of engineering,"
"It will be quite a major project, over a sensitive area. The bridge
will be washed, spot-blasted to take care of corrosion, will receive zinc
coating and then a coat of semi-gloss urethane paint. The projected life for the
repairs and painting is 30 to 40 years."
"The project will be administered by the local office of the
Department of Transportation," Anderson concluded. "The museum
provides matching obligation of 20 percent towards the cost of the project
and must also cover the costs of DOT administration."