Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) announced today that he is requesting funding for Fast Corridor and funds to purchase Pierce Transit additional buses.

Smith has been a strong supporter of the Fast Corridor projects since coming to Congress in 1997.

“Improving rail-street intersections will help alleviate traffic congestion throughout the Puget Sound region,” Smith said. “The Spokane Street viaduct improvement in Seattle and the Lincoln Avenue project in Tacoma are two important steps in the project.”

The FAST Corridor Program supports an ongoing partnership effort (1996 to present) between WSDOT, the Ports of Seattle, Tacoma and Everett, the Puget Sound Regional Council, a number of local jurisdictions, and two Class I private railroads. The first project, the Spokane Street viaduct improvement, is in the City of Seattle.  The second project, the Lincoln Avenue grade separation project is in Pierce County. The FAST partners propose $4.4M in funding for the Spokane Street Viaduct improvement project, which will fund final design and construction.  The FAST partners propose $5.2M in funding for the Lincoln Avenue grade separation project.  This amount will fund final construction for the project.

In a few years, Pierce Transit and Sound Transit will be constrained in providing additional bus service. Pierce Transit and Sound Transit have formed a partnership to provide regional transit service and are working cooperatively to fund this base expansion project. When the phased construction is completed, Pierce Transit will have the basic base infrastructure in place to meet Pierce County and regional transit service needs well into the future.

All environmental work has been completed and Pierce Transit is ready to proceed on final design for the East Base in 2005. Pierce Transit and Sound Transit are providing a substantial amount of local funds to this project and these funds will support the federal commitment to this project. Pierce Transit has already purchased the site for the expansion base with local funds. Additionally, Pierce Transit is ready to go to bid for the CNG buses.

Additionally, Pierce Transit is planning the purchase of 20 expansion buses over the next several years to accommodate planned service expansion. Eight are currently funded with FTA formula funds. This request would assist in funding the next expansion bus purchase.

Smith requested funding through the 2005 Transportation, Treasury and Independent Organizations Appropriations bill. It is expected that this bill will be finalized before Congress adjourns this year.