Contra Ben’s post, chalk me up as doubtful we’ll get anything out of Olympia. I gave up on that place a long time ago, and the current budget situation means we’re getting nothing for a good long while. I’d be thrilled if they just fixed the bridges that are about to fall down.
On the other hand, President-elect Obama has declared his intention to put forth a $500 ~ $700 billion infrastructure plan that would generate some two to five million jobs. To be an effective stimulus, of course, the money has to be spent soon, so projects that require years of public hearings aren’t going to be helpful. Obama has set a time frame of two years for for the projects.
Here’s a handy guide to some things that could be done right away, if only the money were in the bank, helpfully organized by Congressional District:
1st District: Jay Inslee
Permanent Sounder Station at Edmonds. The current Sounder Station at Edmonds is a temporary one, and about $30 million is needed to get a permanent station there. Designs have been done for a while now.
New Washington State Ferries. These ferries are expensive, and WSF is hurting for money right now.
Park-and-Rides. There’s the Mountlake Terrace park-and-ride, I believe $2 million on that link is a very low estimate, but some money is needed to complete the freeway park-and-ride there. Then there’s the Mukilteo Park-and-Ride on SR 525.
6th District Norm Dicks
Dicks is on the appropriations committee, and has been since 1976, so he may have an unusual amount of influence.
Point Defiance Bypass. Design work on this bypass is 100% percent complete, according to WSDOT, but is underfunded by at least $15 million. The re-routing of traffic away from Point Defiance would have significant time savings for both Sounder and Amtrak, and would allow the already constructed Lakewood station and in design South Tacoma station to get connected to Sounder. I bet this would be a huge increase in ridership. The South Tacoma station itself is short about $15 in funding as well.
Also, Ferries, see above.
7th District: Jim McDermott
Streetcars can be built very quickly, the South Lake Union Streetcar went from concept to riders in less than two years. Since the City has already gone through construction of one line, another should be even easier. With a final viaduct design coming online in the next couple of months, some funding for one of these lines in the a stimulus package couple be very likely. Also, Prop. 1 included $120 million for the First Hill Streetcar, which is not quite enough to get the line to the north end of Broadway, and even then the line wouldn’t open until 2016.
Alaskan Way Viaduct. A final design for the viaduct is likely to be agreed on over the next couple of months, and cost estimates have already been put together. Quick funding would make a big difference in moving this forward.
Metro Fleet Replacement. Metro wants 50 new 40-foot hybrid electric/diesel buses for 2009 and 2010 to expand the fleet and replace diesel buses that are reaching the end of their useful life.
8th District: Dave Reichert
520-Bridge: The engineering estimates are coming alone pretty quickly, but the bridge is still very short on funding. My concern with advocating for funding for the $6.6 billion bridge, is that it might eat up a huge portion of the stimulus funding for our area. Having said that, I travel across the bridge each day, and a new bridge is desparately needed.
See Metro buses above.
9th District: Adam Smith
Tukwila Sounder Station. Sound Transit has purchased land for the station and parking garage, but is waiting for funding to build both. Only $16 million is currently available, and most of these stations cost more like $30 or $40 million, so the shortfall is significant. The station is currently in design, though it could be finished quickly.
Rapid Ride implementation. King County Metro is looking to cut about $40 million in capital projects, and some of this money could come from Rapid Ride. With optimistic funding, Rapid Ride wouldn’t be online until 2011 at the earliest, and some federal funding could speed this along. Also see Metro buses above.
Both Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are elected at-large, so all of these projects are part of their domain. Cantwell is a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and Murray is on the Senate Appropriations Committee, and is chair of the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. They have a lot of influence, especially with a Democrat in the White House.
Assuming it’s spent based on population proportion, admittedly a big assumption, a $500 billion stimulus would give our region about $6 billion worth of projects, and a $700 billion about $8.3 billion worth. Take a minute and shoot an email to your representitive and our senators and let them know you want transit to be part of the stimulus package.