Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Renewed Energy Toward 167 Completion

The new year rang in new congressmen, state legislatures, and coalitions that aim to apply renewed energy toward old transportation issues: the completion of State Route 167.

Construction on the highway was halted in the 1980s, leaving the final six miles from Puyallup to Tacoma unfinished. Proponents of the project argue that it would create much needed jobs, reduce congestion and pollution, and speed up the shipment of freight through the Port of Tacoma, thereby holding statewide economic importance. The project, which would require construction of dozens of bridges and a complicated interchange with I-5, has a current estimated cost of $1.5 billion.

Many local political, business, and community leaders and organizations have made the completion of SR 167 a top priority, forming the 167 Completion Coalition, aimed at finishing this critical transportation project. The Coalition consists of Congressman Denny Heck (D-10), CEO/ President of the Tacoma- Pierce County Chamber, Tom Pierson, and many others.

The News Tribune cites House Transportation Committee Chairwoman Judy Clibborn as suggesting various methods to raise the money for SR 167, such as gas taxes and tolls, although tolling would likely bring in only a fraction of the cost since drivers can find an alternate route to avoid the toll.  

While it is uncertain how the completion of SR 167 would be funded, it is clear that the project is headed in the right direction.

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