Pierce County leaders recommend road/transit projects

Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy and representatives of city and town councils throughout Pierce County are collaborating to compete for...

Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy and representatives of city and town councils throughout Pierce County are collaborating to compete for $44 million in regional funding for important projects that will address traffic congestion.

In a meeting on March 19, the Pierce County Regional Council voted to send a package of six road and transit projects to the next step in the funding process — a review by representatives of public works departments and other transportation experts. The final approval must come from the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC), a panel of elected officials who will make the final decision on how to distribute the $44 million in federal funding among four counties and their cities and towns.

“This is a very competitive process with other central Puget Sound counties and their communities, and we are working hard to make sure Pierce County is positioned to win funding for projects that benefit our families and businesses,” Executive McCarthy said. “I appreciate the hard work and cooperation of the cities, towns and transit agencies as we navigate through the complex funding process.

“We do not want to miss any opportunities to secure funding for critical projects throughout Pierce County,” she added.

This process is not about federal economic stimulus money. On March 12, the PSRC selected projects to receive an estimated $78 million in Federal Highway Administration funding and $136 million in Federal Transit Administration funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Four projects in Pierce County received funding via that process.

Thursday’s Pierce County Regional Council meeting involved the regularly-scheduled revenues that the federal government gives to the PSRC.

Here are the six projects that won the Pierce County Regional Council’s recommendation Thursday:

Pierce County — Widen and reconstruct Canyon Road E from 172 Street E to 160th Street E, $5 million;

Pierce Transit — Build a high-tech transit signal system on a 13-mile segment of Pacific Avenue, $2.8 million;

Tacoma — Replace the 81-year-old Puyallup River Bridge, $6 million;

Fife — Widen 70th Avenue E, $2 million to $4 million;

Puyallup — Build a high-tech traffic signal system along a four-mile segment of Meridian (State Route 161), $1.8 million;

Sound Transit — New track and signal for the Lakewood-Tacoma commuter rail (D Street to M Street), $10 million.

These six projects scored the highest on a list of 12 projects that were evaluated. In each case, the funding being recommended represents a portion of the project’s total cost. Each jurisdiction has secured or is pursuing funding from other sources.

The projects now go for review by the transportation experts on the Regional Project Evaluation Committee, which includes several representatives from around Pierce County.

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