Larry Ehl’s indispensable WSDOT Federal Funding blog has the news:

It’s part of a nationwide announcement: $776 million for 152 project for urban and rural transit providers in 45 states and the District of Columbia to help bring buses, bus facilities and related equipment into a state of good repair. Funding is provided from the FTA’s new State of Good Repair discretionary grant program.

$29m goes to Washington, mainly for new buses. The most interesting thing otherwise is probably $5.4m to refurbish escalators in the DSTT. Metro spokeswoman Linda Thielke tells me that last decade’s retrofit did not update all of the tunnel escalators, and this grant will allow them to complete the work, beginning next year. Those escalators date back to the tunnel opening in 1990.

22 Replies to “New Federal Money”

  1. My first reaction was why would elevators and escalators need refurbishing? Then I remembered the DSTT is almost 30 years old. Oh yea!

  2. The up escalator on 3rd and Seneca, inside the 1201 building has been torn up for the last two months. Wasn’t working as of Friday, last time I was there.

  3. Refurbish escalators? How about move them to where people want to walk? The DSTT stations are so inefficient for quickly getting to your bus/train.

  4. YAY! The up escalator at 3rd and Seneca has been broken since Labor Day at least! Then last week both were broken. Seems like every six months they’ve got all the escalator stairs completely torn out and fenced up on the mezzanine.

    Taking the regular stairs is no big deal unless you’ve got 5 minutes to get from office to the last bus in heels. Also the stairwell there seems so isolated, dark and sketchy at non-peak times.

  5. I’d like to see “Stand right/Walk left” signs on the escalators. It’s amazing that people don’t know this courtesy in this day and age. Almost like how people don’t keep right except to pass.

    1. OMG, yes. So many Seattleites do not understand this basic courtesy. It’s so rude. I have been half tempted to make my own signs and just slap them up on the escalators, but I’d probably get arrested.

    2. You’re talking about a “courtesy” that has never existed in this region. I had never heard of it until I visited England where people always do it, and seen the signs in DC where it seems to be a half-norm. It’s fine to put up signs and encourage people to do it, but don’t go berating then for not following a norm that originated elsewhere and has never been part of our culture.

      1. I have to call BS on that. While I didn’t grow up in the region, my wife did and she knows that it is basic common sense/courtesy to stand right walk left on escalators and people movers.

        Now just b/c people might CHOOSE to ignore it (much like they do while driving where the same basic rule applies) doesn’t mean they aren’t very well knowledgeable that it is the correct thing to do.

      2. I’ve seen Seattlites do it a few times, but it rarely happens, and usually only happens when the first couple people who get on the escalator do it.

        What’s interesting is that people do follow the courtesy at our airport, probably because travelers are used to it as accepted norm in other countries.

    3. I use the transit tunnel every weekday and while admittedly a lot of people don’t follow this convention, a lot of people do! Less so during weekends and events, but still.

    4. Looking at the standard model widths on Wikipedia, I’d bet money that DC and most other metros use 1000mm-wide treads, while the DSTT escalators are 800mm. At least, to me the DSTT’s escalators have always seemed narrower than standard. So long as that width doesn’t change, even if we magically got everyone to the right, most of the time it’d still be impossible to pass.

  6. That the escalators have run for so long is a testimony to their original builder. Admittedly they are not fully-exposed to the elements like the ones in D.C. and L.A. tend to be, and they did get Nights and Sundays off for much of their lives, but they have performed well, and haven’t taken too many limbs or digits off of their users, IIRC.

  7. Funding is provided from the FTA’s new State of Good Repair discretionary grant program

    My immediate question was who provides the funding, not what pigeon hole does FTA stuff it into. After digging through the budget at the FTA website the answer seems to be $8.3B of their funding is from the Highway Trust Fund and $3.3B is from the General Fund. Interesting that they call the part from the General Fund unsustainable spending because in reality the Highway Trust Fund gets reimbursed by the General Fund for what get’s transferred to transit spending.

    1. I don’t follow what you’re saying, but the highway trust fund has a “highway account” and a “mass transit” account. The highway trust fund was for some time paid through federal gas taxes but is now routinely replenished by the federal general fund.

      1. If you look at the numbers what is now routinely replenished by the gederal general fund to the highway fund is equal to the amount transferred to the FTA. Maybe the federal sponsorship for building roads isn’t fully funded by user fees (i.e. the gas tax) but the FTA has zero user fees funding their budget.

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