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Senator Murray Delivers Millions for Pierce County Transportation and Housing Projects

Jul 10 2008

As Chairman of critical Senate Committee, Senator Murray includes funding for boost mass transit, reduce traffic, and create more affordable housing in Tacoma and Pierce County

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that she has included $5,775,000 million for Pierce County transportation and housing projects in the Fiscal Year 2009 Senate Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill. As Chairman of the THUD Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Murray uses her position to invest in community-backed Washington state projects that may not otherwise receive federal support.

"With gas prices on the rise and the housing crisis hurting more and more Pierce County families, the funding in this bill is critically important," said Senator Murray. "This bill makes much needed investments in mass transit, affordable housing, and traffic reduction. I'm proud to work to return Pierce County families' federal tax dollars to projects in their own backyard."

The THUD Appropriations bill was approved in Senator Murray's THUD Committee on Tuesday and is expected to be approved by the full Appropriations Committee today. It will then move to the Senate floor.

The following projects were included in the bill in the Pierce County region:

Pierce Transit Peninsula Park and Ride, Pierce County: $1,775,000

This project will include a park and ride lot accommodating between 500-525 automobiles. An in-line station will be constructed in the median of SR-16, which will be connected to both the new Peninsula Park and Ride and the existing Kimball Park and Ride facility with a pedestrian bridge. This project will support increased fixed route bus and vanpool ridership on the Gig Harbor Peninsula, in addition to reducing congestion and increasing the people-carrying capacity of the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

“The Peninsula Park and Ride project will help reduce traffic congestion and offer significantly improved transit access to Tacoma, Seattle and the entire Puget Sound region for the dramatically growing Gig Harbor Peninsula community,” said Lynne Griffith, Pierce Transit CEO. “The project continues Pierce Transit’s tradition of providing safe, reliable, and innovative transit solutions.”

Salishan HOPE IV, Tacoma: $1,000,000

The Salishan Housing project and related redevelopments consist of a number of elements including the rehabilitation of older housing stock and the construction of new units. The planned improvements will include about 180 rental units and 182 homes that will be sold to qualifying low-income individuals and families.

“This is not our fathers’ public housing,” said Michael Mirra, director of the Tacoma Housing Authority, the lead agency for the $225 million project. “It is transforming East Tacoma.” “It’s a very easy thing to describe because we at THA have put our hearts and lives into it,” he said. “It’s ambitious in what we hope to achieve in terms of scale, and it’s ambitious in its goals of social justice.”

Lincoln Avenue Grade Separation, Port of Tacoma: $1,000,000

Lincoln Avenue is a major arterial serving a high number of trucks as a primary connector between Interstate 5 and the Port of Tacoma.  The grade separation project will facilitate two major objectives.  First, rail service for activities north of Lincoln Avenue will no longer impede surface traffic on Lincoln Avenue, and second, the grade separation will allow the construction of multiple tracks for rail staging of trains. Both of these functions provide highly improved functioning rail service and allow for growth, particularly for intermodal trains.  

"Safe, efficient movement of truck and rail freight to and from Port of Tacoma terminals is critical for the continued expansion of South Puget Sound economic development," said Dick Marzano," President, Port of Tacoma Commission. "The Lincoln Avenue Overpass project is a central component of our efforts to expand Port activity safely with minimal impact to our neighboring communities."

Shaw Road Extension Project, City of Puyallup: $2,000,000

This project will improve 1,000 linear feet of the existing Shaw Road alignment to add sidewalks, bike lanes, and turn lanes at the Pioneer intersection.  This extension will relieve congestion by creating a new route functioning independently of the BNSF line.  It will increase safety and capacity to the city’s arterial network, as well as enhance regional freight mobility, and facilitate increased and safer railway usage. 

"We knew in 1983 that the extension of Shaw Road was an important element of Puyallup’s arterial grid" said Puyallup Mayor Don Malloy.  "We know now that it is an absolutely essential north-south corridor that will help alleviate traffic congestion on South Hill, as well as provide a safe route over the BNSF rail line to valley freeways."