FAST Corridor Receives Vision 2020 Award for Trying to Speed Things Up Around Sound

“The Puget Sound Regional Council has selected the FAST Corridor as one of six projects to receive a Vision 2020 award at a ceremony in Seattle.The FAST corridor project – Freight Action Strategy of Seattle-Tacoma – managed by the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Office of Urban Mobility is under way to improve freight movement and reduce commuter delays and conflicts along the I-5 corridor where railways and roads cross. A partnership of over 20 separate agencies is cooperating in the FAST corridor project. During Phase I, FAST identified a series of 15 highway and rail grade separations and port access projects, from Everett to Tacoma, for implementation. Total cost for the FAST I projects is approximately $500 million.Eight of them, with a collective cost of about $300 million, will begin construction this year – State Route 519 (Royal Brougham Way) in Seattle, 3rd Street Southwest and South 277th Street in Auburn, Port of Tacoma Road at SR 509 in Tacoma, Riverfront Parkway and California Street in Everett, South 180th Street in Tukwila, and 8th Street in Pierce County. In Phase II, FAST is slated to examine capital and operational improvements – such as added freight capacity for the region – for inclusion in local and state transportation plans. It will also reportedly incorporate additional grade separation projects for the freight mobility program proposals being developed at the state level. The FAST Partners are greatly honored to receive this award, which validates the FAST approach to project identification and implementation. All FAST members have worked hard to get funding and establish data-driven priorities for early implementation, said Dan Pike, FAST Corridor project manager.This is a project that helps commerce and commuters, Pike said. While funding challenges continue, it is good to know the benefits of our efforts are recognized by the region. With Washington state the most trade-dependent state in the country, improved freight mobility is seen by many to be critical to the state’s economy. The Puget Sound region is the second-largest freight gateway for containerized cargo in North America. In the competitive climate between ports shippers need to ensure that deliveries are quick, reliable and inexpensive to keep a competitive edge in the global economy. Given that the Puget Sound region has the third worst traffic in the nation, it’s not surprising that congestion may hamper the region’s ability to move cargo quickly and efficiently.The FAST project is designed to improve safety and assess pinch points where the transfer of goods between transportation modes can be streamlined. The project is also expected to benefit commuters by reducing conflicts among freight haulers and commuters using the freeway system.”