Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell hailed the funding for two transportation projects under the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grant Program. One grant of $30 million will go to the City of Seattle for the Mercer Corridor Project, and a second of $35 million will go to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) for the U.S. 395 North Spokane Corridor Project. The TIGER program was created under last year’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“These ‘shovel ready’ projects address long standing transportation issues in these communities,” said Cantwell. “Not only will these projects provide immediate construction jobs but, more importantly, will also ensure the long-term economic vitality of their respective communities. Both the Mercer Street Corridor project and the segment of the US 395 North Spokane Corridor Project will be a great boost to their local economies.”
The City of Seattle project involves the reconstruction and realignment of Mercer Street through South Lake Union area of the city. Additional improvements to Mercer and Valley Streets will provide better access for transit, bicycles, and pedestrians. Once completed, the project will reduce traffic congestion from a number of urban centers to I-5, and ease the movement of freight from the Port of Seattle to the Interstate. The project is a public-private partnership. To date, Seattle has secured $140 million for the project, including more than $30 million in private contributions. The TIGER grant puts the City in a position to complete this long-standing project.
WSDOT will use its funding for construction of the 3.7-mile southbound segment of the U.S. 395 North Spokane Corridor Project, from Francis Avenue to Farewell Road. Currently, all north-south traffic through Spokane moves on principle arterial streets. This means international freight traffic and passenger traffic share the roads with residents of local communities, leading to greater congestion, longer travel times, increased fuel usage, more greenhouse gas emissions, and reduced safety. Once completed, Spokane’s North-South Corridor will link I-90 on the south end with existing U.S. 2 and U.S. 395 on the north end. This will allow international, interstate and regional traffic to bypass neighborhoods in the Spokane metropolitan area. Improvements to the freight transportation system through Spokane will also assist the economies of Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties north of Spokane.