The City of Edmonds reported Tuesday that two transportation projects in Edmonds are closer to fruition, after both chambers of the Washington State Legislature voted last week to approve a transportation budget that includes funding for the next steps on two important projects: the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector and Highway 99 corridor enhancements.
Following approval in the state House of Representatives Thursday and the Senate Friday, the transportation budget is now on the desk of Gov. Jay Inslee, awaiting his signature.
“I am delighted to see that our hard work and preparation have led legislators in both the Senate and House to support these important transportation projects in Edmonds,” said Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling. “The legislators understood what we’ve been saying all along: These projects address real safety, congestion and access issues that are important not only to Edmonds but to the entire region.”
The approved transportation budget includes $700,000 for continued design development, environmental review and documentation, and permitting work for the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector, which provides an emergency, single-lane structure over the railroad tracks as an alternative to the at-grade rail crossings at Main and Dayton Streets. This approximately $29 million project will provide access for emergency vehicles, as well as ferry off-loading or on-loading with the assistance of traffic control officers when train break-downs block the two crossings. The structure would also provide 24/7, ADA-compliant access to the city’s waterfront for pedestrians, bicyclists and other non-motorized traffic.
Meanwhile, the transportation budget also gave the City of Edmonds earlier access to necessary funding for Highway 99 improvements. A total of $1 million from the $10 million appropriation approved in the 2015 legislative session was moved up into the 2017-19 biennium from 2021-23 biennium. The Edmonds City Council is expected in June to give its final approval to the Highway 99 Corridor Subarea Plan, which includes associated code changes and related provisions. The plan includes a vision for safety, circulation, pedestrian and aesthetic enhancements within the 2-mile stretch of Highway 99 that runs through Edmonds.
“This is wonderful news that will have a real impact on our community,” said City of Edmonds Development Services Director Shane Hope. “The Legislature’s decision to free up this $1 million in funding allows us to move forward with critical components of the Highway 99 Corridor improvement project, including necessary design work, while also providing powerful leverage to help us secure matching grant funds for this project.”
The $1 million up-front funding will enable the city to complete a more detailed plan for the transportation improvements needed in the Highway 99 corridor to achieve the vision expressed in the subarea plan, the city said. This would include a list of the individual projects that will be needed, what should be prioritized, how those projects should be phased in over several years, and an overall cost estimate for the programmed improvements. Also, the funding should allow the city to design a high-priority project so funding can be assembled for its construction.
“My heartfelt thanks go out to all our Edmonds-area legislators for their support, particularly Senator Marko Liias and Representative Lillian Ortiz-Self, who serve on the Senate and House Transportation Committees,” Earling said.