The full PSRC General Assembly includes all council and commission members from member jurisdictions. All members are eligible to vote on Assembly actions.So come May 20th when the General Assembly is scheduled to meet next, it will have a chance to vote on whether to adopt the Transportation 2040 plan as it currently stands. As we discussed before, the current preferred alternative plan includes a whole variety of options. However, I recently picked up on an interesting detail of timing and priorities thanks to two tweets from John Niles. The interesting detail is the PSRC's DRAFT 2010 Action Strategy (pdf) which was an appendix to the Draft Study which has now advanced into Final Environmental Impact Study phase.
In this document, a action strategy focusing on the next 10 years (2010-2020) is discussed. As the report goes on, the specifics of funding and actual projects come into focus. In an earlier part of the report, the following table is shown which details the expected funding and new funding.
Notice how there is $10 billion in new funding available for highway projects. Where does this new money come from? Tolls. Specifically, tolls here:
Now that the funding has been figured out, the issue of what projects to fund comes into play. The overall summary of what is spent on projects is presented in the following figure:
- Implement early tolling on SR 520 consistent with Legislative direction and agreements in the Urban Partnership grant, and implement tolling on the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project.
- Seek broader Legislative authority to implement tolling, pricing, and HOT lanes on state highways. ...
- Expand High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes from the existing SR 167 pilot project to additional state highways. By the year 2020 implement HOT lanes on the following major highway corridors: I-5 from N. 145th to Marysville, I-5 from I-90 to SR 512, I-405, SR 167 from I-405 to Puyallup, SR 512 from Puyallup to I-5, SR 520 from NE 84th to Redmond, I-90 from Mercer Island to Issaquah, and SR 16 from I-5 to Gig Harbor.
That's right, as for system expansion projects, nearly two thirds of the total will be spent on highway expansion projects within the next 10 years. Here is a preview of some specific projects mentioned:
- Replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct
- Replace the SR 520 floating bridge (6-lane option) plus other SR 520 improvements from I-5 to I-405
- Widening and other improvements on the I-405 corridor
- Complete SR 167 corridor improvements in south King and north Pierce counties
- Begin work on the I-5 pavement rehabilitation project in downtown Seattle
- Complete SR 18 widening from Issaquah-Hobart Road to I-90
- New interchange at SR 509 and SR 518
- Widen SR 522 from the Snohomish River to Monroe/US 2
- Complete US 2 Monroe Bypass
- Improvements on SR 9
- Complete SR 704/Cross Base Highway project
- Improvements to SR 3 in Kitsap County
- Improvements on the Mercer Street corridor
- Bel-Red Regional Connectivity projects
- Complete the remaining sections of the region’s core freeway HOV system (SR 167 in south King and north Pierce counties, I-5 in Tacoma, and SR 16 in Pierce county, from Gig Harbor to Purdy)
- Move forward on implementing Sound Transit Phase 2, which will extend LINK Light Rail Transit to Lynnwood, Redmond/Overlake, and Federal Way
- Make investments required to support expansion of bus transit service (bus fleets, BRT lanes, BAT lanes, park & ride lots, transit centers/stations, signal prioritization, electronic fare collection, etc.)
- Expand the High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lane network as an interim step toward system tolling/pricing
This action strategy does raise concerns about the instability of the sales tax for transit agencies and how it would be nice for them to have a supplemental funding source. However as is shown in the financial summary figure, nothing is going to be done about that. Instead, the focus will be primarily on tolling parts of the highway system in order to raise enough money to fund these highway expansion projects.