City Council gives green light to transportation projects plan

July 3, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

City Council members approved the roadmap for all city transportation projects through 2018 — a guide to planned street and sidewalk improvements.

In a unanimous decision June 18, council members adopted the Transportation Improvement Program, or TIP, a guide to short- and long-term planning for road, transit and pedestrian projects. The document outlines possible transportation projects for 2013-18.

Transportation planners outlined possible improvements to downtown streets, street repairs and other projects in the expansive document.

The list does not include as many big-ticket projects as in past years — a result of council belt-tightening in the municipal budget.

Still, items outlined in the proposal could alleviate traffic congestion and offer motorists a smoother ride — if the city can find dollars to complete the projects.

Municipal staffers list transportation projects in the TIP, and then prioritize the projects through a separate process to fund capital improvements.

Though the plan proposes tens of millions in transportation spending, the city can complete only a fraction of projects in a single year. In addition, funding for many projects hinges on state and federal grants.

Projects must be listed in the TIP in order to be eligible for gasoline tax revenue.

Under state law, Issaquah and other cities must form and approve a long-term transportation plan. Staffers usually submit the list to the state Department of Transportation by July.

Councilman Joshua Schaer, the Council Transportation Committee chairman, emphasized the need to seek additional sources of funding in order to complete the listed projects.

The city received a grant from the state Department of Ecology to upgrade Rainier Boulevard North — a point city Transportation Manager Gary Costa mentioned before the council decision.

“We have a lot of good projects on the TIP, and I’m very hopeful that we can get funding for as many of them as we can possibly squeeze out of whoever the money is coming from,” Schaer said. “When you look at our CIP — which is the prioritization document for the city — for 2013, we’re only able to do a couple projects in addition to our annual types of projects, like street overlay, Complete Streets and traffic calming.”

Nobody from the public spoke at the mandatory public hearing held before the council decision.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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