WA transportation projects score nearly $90M in federal grants

Eight transportation projects in Washington will receive a combined $89.7 million in federal grant funding, Democratic members of the state’s congressional delegation said this week.

The largest grant, $25 million awarded to King County Parks, will go toward closing a gap in a planned 42-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail — known as the Eastrail — between Renton and Snohomish County. The portion of the project the grant will partially pay for will involve retrofitting a steel bridge that crosses over 16 lanes of Interstate 90.

Grants in the $17 million to $18 million range will go to a street project in Vancouver, constructing a transit maintenance facility to accommodate electric buses in Kitsap County, and helping the Port of Bellingham reconnect its docks to a nearby rail line.

The lawmakers said Washington’s total funding haul is the most any state secured this year through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity, or RAISE, program. Sen. Patty Murray, of Washington, played a leading role in establishing the program in 2009.

Overall, the Transportation Department awarded $1.8 billion in RAISE grants this year.

“Once again, our state is punching above its weight in securing these hard-fought federal dollars for transportation and infrastructure projects that will help make our communities more safe, livable, and connected,” Murray said in a statement.

The Eastrail project will close the final 1.7-mile gap in a 26-mile southern section of the trail, connecting Renton and Bellevue. The estimated completion date for the grant-funded portion of the project is 2030.

Woodinville also received a $5 million RAISE grant to complete design, planning, and permitting for a roughly 2-mile Eastrail segment that will pass through the city.

In Vancouver, $17.4 million will go to a street project dubbed the Grand Loop, which will feature a park on one side and will be designed to be pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly. This is part of Vancouver’s Heights District redevelopment project.

The city’s goal with the Heights District is to create a walkable neighborhood, with a mix of housing, retail, and public spaces, on about 205 acres in central Vancouver. This includes 63 acres where there used to be a mall that was demolished in 2022.

“The development of The Heights District is vital to the future of Vancouver, and the Grand Loop is a central feature,” Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle said in a statement.

The $17.9 million grant for the Port of Bellingham will go toward reestablishing rail connections between dockside areas and BNSF’s main rail line through the region. This would open up direct rail service in and out of the port. The money will also help with other upgrades, including purchasing a pad to support a harbor crane acquired last year.

Kitsap County Public Transportation Authority, according to this week’s announcement, will receive $17 million to build the new maintenance facility and procure five double-decker electric buses. The new facility will be designed to allow for electric bus charging and maintenance.

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