This Washington

How the Regional Mobility Grants Stack Up

By Erica C. Barnett March 25, 2011

Although the state department of transportation recommended ten projects for funding under the state's regional mobility grant program in the state house transportation budget, only six ultimately made it on the state house transportation committee's list, and another six that weren't on the list got chosen---a result, in part, of the fact that state legislators are allowed to ignore WSDOT's criteria and recommend any projects they want for funding.

The house transportation budget passed the House today; the senate transportation budget, whose regional mobility grant recommendations are largely identical to those in the House, passed the senate transportation committee this afternoon.

The criteria include things like "scoring criteria," which include things like "readiness to proceed," "impact on congested corridors," and "system efficiency."

Here's the original list of recommendations, and here are the projects that ultimately were recommended for funding.

Among the projects that were recommended, but aren't on the list the committee approved, are a bus rapid transit line from Ballard to Queen Anne; a new park-and-ride in SeaTac; and improvements to Metro bus service in Burien.

Among the projects that weren't recommended but are on the list: Bus rapid transit in Snohomish County, improvements to bus service in the Eastside suburbs, and a new park-and-ride in Clark County.

The only major change to that list? As we reported in Fizz yesterday morning, the committee voted to kill a grant to the Seattle Department of Transportation for a new transit priority lane between Ballard and the U District, giving the money instead to Sound Transit for Sounder trains between Lakewood and Seattle.

Maybe if Seattle had more representatives on the committee---our only rep on the committee, which includes numerous reps from the Eastside, south of Seattle, and the north Seattle suburbs, which all got projects recommended for funding, is freshman Joe Fitzgibbon---we would have gotten more of our projects recommended for funding.
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