On Thursday, the Puget Sound Regional Council’s (PSRC) Transportation Policy Board (TPB) recommended that five transit projects receive additional Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) funding in 2021-22.
The projects were part of a larger disbursement of federal transportation funds, including highway funding, which must be approved in a meeting of the PSRC’s Executive Board on July 26. Area agencies submitted proposals for a competitive bid process earlier this year.
PSRC staff selected the five projects from that group of proposals, and created an additional list of projects, including Rainier RapidRide and Colman Dock, that could receive funding should additional federal funds become available.
Three of the five projects did not get as much funding as they initially requested. Four of the five projects are for BRT, and East Link also got a boost. According to PSRC spokesperson Rick Olson, that’s because the funding competition was remarkably popular. Bidding agencies worked together to make sure that funding dollars could be used to the furthest possible extent.
“The projects that got less funding than requested this round voluntarily took cuts in order to get more projects funded,” Olson says. “We had far more funding requested than was available.”
A while ago on a Sunday Open Thread, I aired a trial balloon of doing a podcast on transit issues. Most of you in the STB comment threads wanted text instead so I’m going to oblige. I’m hoping based on the responses here to make time to do this monthly or twice a month with a major newsmaker who we would not hear from otherwise that has an impact on transit services north of Lynnwood. So here we go with the North by Northwest Big Interview!
For my first subject, I decided to choose a friendly face and also a voice who in some of the big debates affecting the North by Northwest region who has not been heard from. From the Future of Flight Transit Desert to the proposed Paine Field Terminal – the media has (mostly) neglected Mayor Jennifer Gregerson’ s voice. Today is about turning that around and I sincerely appreciate her interest and participating.
In this interview we discussed Sounder North, a substantial subject of yesterday’s main post’s comment thread. We also discussed potential transportation options to the potential Paine Field Terminal that Propeller Airports wants to build, Community Transit, Swift 2 and finally the Future of Flight transit desert. I’ve helpfully included appropriate pictures and hyperlinks.
For those on e-mail subscription like I, I’ve decided to insert a jump point here so if you want to read the whole interview – just click the header. For the over 1,200 word interview itself, read on.
HB 1393 – the local option – for Community Transit has a first hearing tomorrow in the House Transportation Committee for HB 1393 is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4 at the John L. O’Brien Building, House Hearing Rm B. It’ll also be on TVW.
So if you use transit in Snohomish County or care for your Snohomish neighbors, please go here and request passage of HB 1393. If HB 1393 passes, voters in Community Transit’s service district will get to vote up or down on a 0.3 percent sales tax hike.
So where would the money going to go? Fair question:
More commuter bus runs from Snohomish County to Seattle
Extended Community Transit run service periods
Increased bus service hours for all of Community Transit’s runs
More service for Paine Field – provided the bus stops get built…
For Community Transit, after this June’s rebound into Sunday hours and a few route adjustments – “current forecasts indicate that any new service hours added in the next few years are likely to be taken up by schedule maintenance—adding time to current trips because their actual travel time is getting longer.” So we transit advocates can forget about Swift II, service to Paine Field – possibly in lieu of a light rail diversion, or just about anything else on a Community Transit wish list. HB 1393 – is must pass as much as, if not more than ST3.
Oh and one last thing… 1800 Hours tonight, House Republican Chairman Dan Kristainsen who represents a nice swath of Snohomish County (and my Skagit) will hold his tele town hall w/ his 39th LD seatmate Rep. Scott. Make sure to call into (360) 350-6256 at 6 PM tonight the 3rd and ask to please support HB 1393. Or you could please also go here please and request passage of HB 1393 via e-mail please.
Snohomish County, Wash. – U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen took a tour of Community Transit’s proposed Swift II Bus Rapid Transit line today, and took a Blue Friday photo with employees to support the Seahawks.
Community Transit last month received Federal Transit Administration approval to move forward with project development of the second Swift line, which would run between Canyon Park in Bothell and Paine Field/Boeing in Everett. Project development includes further route design and environmental review and must be completed before the agency applies for federal Small Starts funding to build the project. If all goes according to plan, Swift II could be operational in 2018.
“You can’t have a big league economy with a little league infrastructure,” Larsen said of the need for improved federal funding for transportation projects like Swift. “It’s the difference between being Super Bowl champions and being the Washington D.C. football team.”
As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Larsen said he is involved in writing a new Surface Transportation Authorization bill that would fund programs like Small Starts, which transit agencies rely on to fund small-to-midsized capital projects.
After addressing employees at Community Transit’s Merrill Creek base in Everett, Larsen joined them for a Blue Friday photo in front of a Swift bus before taking his tour of the route.
It’s important to remember however that although Congressman Rick Larsen is supremely awesome, Swift II needs all of the following:
Complete federal requirements for capital funding (stations and buses), including an environmental impact analysis
Develop plans for a northern terminal near Boeing
Work with the state to develop traffic efficiency improvements across I-5 at 128th Street
Continue to work with partner cities on infrastructure improvements along route
Get new funding to pay for Swift II operation
So let’s work together, make new allies and get this done. BOO-YEAH!
To fund the new service, Community Transit will be raising their adult and DART fares by 25 cents effective July 1. The increased fare will bring the cost of a round-trip on commuter routes from Marysville, Stanwood and Snohomish to a staggering $11 for adults.