In mid-January Joe Turner of The News Tribune reported that Governor Gregoire’s six-year transportation budget pushes key Pierce County projects off the funding horizon. The projects now scheduled to come on-line after 2015 include extension of carpool lanes on Interstate 5 from Fife to the Tacoma Mall, purchase of property to extend State Route 167 from the Port of Tacoma to Puyallup and construction of the Yelm highway bypass. Read the complete article here.
Robin Rettew, one of the governor’s policy advisors conceded that projects scheduled beyond 2015 will likely need a new source of funding (taxes, tolls, or Federal money) to get built.
However, instead of a commitment to regional funding equity, the Governor’s budget remains dedicated to replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct along Seattle’s waterfront and replacing the SR-520 bridge across Lake Washington. Both projects will likely cost more than $4 billion.
In response to the budget, Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, Port of Tacoma CEO Tim Farrell, and elected and business leaders from across the South Sound are joining together to lobby the Governor and the Pierce County legislative delegation for the South Sound’s fair share of transportation dollars.
Executive McCarthy will speak to RAMP about her advocacy plans at the next RAMP meeting on Wednesday, February 4th (8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Fabulich Center, 3600 Port of Tacoma Road, Tacoma, WA 98424).