Monday, June 29, 2009

Projects Approved by the Pierce County Regional Council


On June 18, the Pierce County Regional Council adopted recommendations from its Transportation Coordinating Committee (TCC) for allocating the $14,032,798 of Federal Transportation Funds allocated to Pierce County by the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC).

Listed below are the projects recommended for funding:

· TAC-36 Portland Ave from E. 38th St. to E. 56th St. $900,000
· SUM-30 East Valley Highway Resurfacing $200,000
· FIR-7 S 19th /Columbia St Grind & Overlay $570,900
· PC-21 Orville Road E - Orting Kapowsin Highway to BR #5175-C $520,164

· TAC-38 Stadium Way $2,950,000
· SUM-31 Traffic Fryar Avenue & Main Street Intersection Improvements $2,118,593
· TAC-35 So Tacoma Way Corridor Multimodal Improvement Project $ 100,000
· FIF-6 70th Ave E R/W, 20th Street Intersection to 2900 Block $ 476,441
· LAK-13 Bridgeport Way - Steilacoom Blvd to 83rd St $ 750,000

· PT-25 Shuttle Vehicle Replacement $1,837,613

· TAC-37 2011 Sidewalk Reconstruction Project $ 374,700
· TAC-39 Historic Water Ditch Trail $1,195,000
· LAK-12 100th St Gravelly Lake Dr to 59th Ave $ 867,000
· UP-40 Mildred/67th Avenue Improvements $ 472,387

· PC-24 Transportation Options $ 700,000


The above projects must still be approved by the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC). The PSRC’s Transportation Policy Board will review the list on July 9th. The Executive Board is scheduled to review the list on July 25th.

The TCC will next recommend a list of contingency projects for PCRC approval. The next meeting of the PCRC will be on July 16, 2009.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Balancing Trips and Housing

HUD reports that low-income families spend a disproportionate amount of their income on transportation-related expenses, as they often trade shorter commutes for the reduced housing costs found in outlying areas.

Creating affordable housing close to public transit facilities can increase overall housing affordability (and reduce the cost of living) for low- and moderate-income families. A report from the Center for Transit Oriented Development, Tools for Mixed-Income TOD, discusses resources and strategies that local governments can bring to bear when integrating mixed-income housing within transit-oriented developments (TOD).

For detailed descriptions of tools and best practices designed to promote mixed-income TOD, please view the report in its entirety.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday, June 08, 2009


Business and labor have joined forces to support transportation funding, offer suggestions for reform.

Congress approved and President Bush signed HR 3, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) on August 10, 2005.

SAFETEA-LU is a $286.5 billion highway and mass transit bill aimed at enhancing safety, economic productivity, economic growth, and reducing traffic congestion and pollution.

SAFETEA-LU will sunset on September 30, 2009, and Congress is beginning the arduous task of determining how to revitalize this important transportation funding measure in the next reauthorization cycle.

Recently, the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) released a study citing “bottom line” funding needs for U.S. Highways and mass transit systems at a whopping $240.5 billion dollars per year.

Congressman James Oberstar, chairman of the House Committee on Transportation Infrastructure, recently discussed a $450 billion dollar, six-year bill; however, it remains unclear how the other committees (namely Ways & Means) will decide to pay for that. To put it in perspective, let me remind you that the current authorization is $286.5 billion dollars over the five-year funding life of the program.

There is no question our nation’s transportation infrastructure is broken. We have not been investing enough money in roads, bridges and transit to maintain these systems, let alone build capacity. But increased funding is not the only answer. Long-term planning and investments in transportation must be a priority, but any proposed legislation must also provide reforms to ensure money is used for needed projects and not wasteful spending. It is critical that we provide significant revenues tied to fulfilling the federal responsibility in meeting the national interest and maintenance of a user-fee-based trust fund protected by budgetary firewalls.

As Congress looks toward reauthorization of funding from the Highway Trust Fund, the Americans for Transportation Mobility coalition, comprised of representatives from business, labor and transportation sectors have weighed in with some guiding principles for reform:

  • Focus on National Needs – A strong federal role built on national needs stemming from interstate commerce, international trade policies, interstate passenger travel, emergency preparedness, national defense, and global competitiveness.
  • Require Accountability – Project approval and funding must be linked to economic benefits and performance-based outcomes.
  • Encourage Private Investment and Financing – The federal government should encourage project financing and delivery approaches that attract private investment within an appropriate federal framework.
  • Eliminate Wasteful Spending – Limit earmarks that are not related to transportation infrastructure, if they do not address the goals of federal transportation policy, or they have limited or no national benefit.
Guest Blogger: Renee Radcliff Sinclair, executive director of Congressional & Public Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Cash for Clunkers

NASCAR may no longer have the fastest track. The House may vote as early as next Tuesday on a bill to provide a cash-for-clunkers trade-in proposal.

The bill is expected to be considered under suspension of the rules, a fast-track procedure barring amendments and requiring a two-thirds vote for passage. This updated version of an earlier bill is an amendment to the climate change bill (HR 2454). A matching bill (S 1135) has been introduced in the Senate and may be added an amendment to a tobacco regulation bill (HR 1256).

These authorizations are being complemented by House and Senate appropriators adding ~$2 billion to the fiscal 2009 supplemental war funding bill (HR 23346).

Consumers would receive a voucher for up to $4,500 to purchase or lease a new, fuel-efficient vehicle (car, SUV or truck).

The old car must get <= 18 mpg and receive $3,500 for an improvement of 4 mpg or $4,500 for an improvement of 10 mpg.

For a light-duty truck or SUV, the old vehicle must get <= 18 mpg and the purchaser will get $3,500 for a 2 mpg improvement and $4,500 for 5 mpg more. The rationale:
  • Helping the auto industry and dealers
  • Helping the Rust Belt
  • Helping the nation's economy
  • Getting cleaner air
  • Getting better fuel economy in the nation's vehicle fleet
  • Lessening dependence on imported oil
Interested? Check out old car and new car mpg ratings here.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Bedding Down with BNSF

In this short video, BNSF shows you how it is taking advantage of track operating windows to update bridges, signals and track, and upgrade technology to further increase velocity. They report that more than half of their year's capital plan is focused on improving the railroad's infrastructure.

Photo is NOT linked.