Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gregoire Prepares Major Transportation Package

The Tacoma News Tribune reported that outgoing Governor Chris Gregoire is preparing a multi-billion dollar transportation package to be released in a budget proposal next week.

While the article noted a few major projects, it did not mention State Route 167. Gregoire said that while all of the road projects were important, any transportation package will be “dominated by maintenance and operation,” suggesting that the completion of SR-167 may be left out.

SR-167 is the primary freeway connecting the Kent and Puyallup River valleys to the Seattle/ Tacoma/ Bellevue metropolitan area. Construction of the final leg of the freeway from Puyallup to Tacoma halted in the 1980s. Completion of the project, a critical missing link in the state’s highway network, would improve safety while reducing congestion along local roads and freeways in the surrounding area. It would also move freight faster and more economically, connecting the warehouses of the valleys, as well as freeways of Eastern Washington, to the Port of Tacoma. The project would also improve surface water quality and holds other environmental benefits.

Currently, the cost to complete SR-167 is estimated at $1.5 billion. Given the project’s statewide significance, it would be detrimental if the much needed completion of SR-167 were left out of any transportation package. 

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