Thursday, May 10, 2007

Will RTID Drop the Cross-Base Highway?

Submitted by Paul Ellis

The News Tribune will report tomorrow that RTID Chair Shawn Bunney is considering removal of that segment of the Cross-Base Highway that crosses the military bases from November's Roads & Transit package.

Bunney's working proposal would fund improvements to Interstate 5 at the Thorne Lane intersection (comprising nearly 60% of the total project cost) on the west side of the project and accelerate funding for improvements on the east side of the project, primarily to 176th St. E. and Canyon Rd. What Bunney calls the "controversial middle portion" of the project would be left "to resolve at a later date". Bunney characterizes himself as a staunch supporter of the project, no matter how the package ultimately presented to voters turns out.

Meanwhile, the Washington State Department of Transportation is about to release a cost/benefit analysis of the Cross-Base Highway recently conducted by HDR/HLB. This analysis compares building the highway to widening of SR-7 and to enhancing transit services in terms of impacts upon congestion, safety, and emissions reduction. Look for more details in an upcoming post.

Paul Ellis is lead staff for RAMP; an employee of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, Ellis led the Pierce County Transportation Advisory Committee (PCTAC), the community’s largest transportation planning effort.

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