Congressman Adam Smith announced today several key transportation projects in Washington state will receive significant federal funding, allowing several small cities and counties to improve public transportation and alleviate trucker congestion within the 9th district. 

The funding comes as part of H.R. 2299, the 2002 Transportation Appropriations Conference Report, which passed the House of Representatives 371 - 11 and is expected to be passed by the Senate early next week before being signed by the President.

A list of projects Congressman Adam Smith endorsed that will improve transportation in the South Puget Sound region include:

$ 900,000 for the Kent 2nd Street Extension in Kent, WA:
The Federal Transportation Agency’s guidelines for transit-oriented development highly encourages complementary facilities and structures that will enhance the role of public transportation. The Second Avenue project is such a facility, in that it will enable more people to live in downtown Kent and access other points of the City. It will also foster better neighborhood to neighborhood connections, and will provide important access for people who use alternative modes of transit such as commuter rail and park and rides. 

$1.5 million for the Transit Oriented Development Project, Tukwila, Washington:
The funding would help complete the City of Tukwila’s urban center master planning process and install infrastructure which will establish the land use framework and infrastructure improvements necessary for the development of a public/private transit-oriented development at in Tukwila’s the urban center. The development will be adjacent to the City’s and Sound Transit’s recently opened, but “bare-bones,” commuter rail station now operating from a temporary plywood platform.

$ 200,000 for Port of Tacoma Trucker Congestions Notification System: 
This project will expand an on-going effort to provide truckers with advanced notice about congestion at the Port of Tacoma. An existing system uses a queue detector installed at the Port of Tacoma Road exit. This detector is linked to a changeable sign on I-5 that warns truckers of congestion at this main access road. Once aware of congestion the truckers can take one of several alternative roads into the port. However, this system serves only truckers on I-5 heading to the Port from the north. Additional funding is needed to expand the detection system to other exits to the port (Portland Avenue and the Fife Exit) and provide this information, using a system of variable message signs, to Port traffic from both the north and south. In addition, this information will be made available to a wider range of travelers.

$ 5 million for the City of Renton/Port Quendall Project: 
Improvements to the 44th Street Interchange general purpose and HOV/transit lanes. Located in the City of Renton near the Port Quendall Brownfield redevelopment project, the interchange improvements are critical to the City of Renton’s long range, comprehensive planning efforts in the area and are listed in regional and state transportation plans, confirming its role in addressing regional growth.

$ 2.5 million for the Pierce County Vehicle Initiative in the state of Washington: 
The Pierce Transit Vehicle Initiative would allow the procurement of passenger vehicles to meet important service needs and to continue to work towards the goal of a 100% compressed natural gas (CNG) fixed route fleet by 2006.

$20 million, Sound Transit, Sounder Commuter Rail from Lakewood to Tacoma:
Sounder Commuter Rail will bring service directly into some of the region’s largest employment centers, providing convenient access for an estimated 18,800 daily riders in 2020. The Sounder project provides commuters with the most viable, high-speed alternative to travel along the congested I-5 corridor. The project is being constructed in three segments. The Tacoma to Seattle segment is operational. Lakewood to Tacoma segment is completing preliminary engineering and environmental phases and is scheduled for operation in late 2002 or early 2003. And the Everett to Seattle segment is completing preliminary engineering and environmental phases and is scheduled for operation in 2003.

$20 million FAST Corridor in Washington State:
FAST Corridor is a $400 million, six-year program to build 15 road/rail overpasses and underpasses from Tacoma to Everett. The program is funded by a coalition that includes the Port of Tacoma, Port of Seattle, Port of Everett, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington State Department of Transportation, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific railroads and numerous counties and cities in the Puget Sound area. FAST Corridor is an acronym for Freight Action Strategy for the Seattle-Tacoma Corridor. An example of FAST Corridor is the $33 million Port of Tacoma Road Overpass -- the first such project to be completed

$1 million, King County, Transit Oriented Developments/Transit Amenities: 
Transit oriented development project sites associated with existing King County bus facilities and/or new Sound Transit regional bus, commuter rail or light rail facilities. The requested funds will be used to transform existing areas, or create new areas, into "green" or "pedestrian" streets by making changes such as, but not limited to: bus only lanes; on-street or off-street bus layover; street crossing improvements including bus bulbs, special pavement, and pedestrian signals; improved lighting; and bus shelters.

$ 3 million earmark for the WorkFirst Transportation Initiative: 
The Initiative is a partnership among the WSDOT, DSHS, CTED, ESD, and ACCT. It coordinates resources at the community level to transport low-income people to work, training, child care, and other employment related services. Through multi-agency planning, existing resources are used efficiently and new resources are coordinated with existing services.

$ 9.5 million, Sound Transit, Regional Express Transit Hubs: 
This package of Regional Express Transit Hubs includes the construction of new transit centers, park and ride lot capacity and direct HOV access improvements located in three counties in the cities of Lynnwood, Bellevue, Kirkland, Federal Way and Lakewood. The project will improve access, transit/HOV speed and reliability while integrating local and regional express bus service in Snohomish, East and South King County and Pierce County.