Here’s a news release that will be coming out of the Governor’s office today that’s good news for us:

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Transportation submitted applications for three high priority projects in King County, Vancouver, and Spokane to compete for the $1.5 billion available in TIGER Discretionary Grants, part of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

“I am proud of the way Washington state and its agencies are aggressively fighting for recovery funds,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said. “We are doing all we can to improve our infrastructure, while creating jobs. I am confident the Department of Transportation has put together a competitive bid that will enhance our roads, while putting people to work.”

WSDOT applied for grants to build portions of the SR 520 Bridge Replacement program ($300 million), the Columbia River Crossing ($147 million), and the North Spokane Corridor ($35 million). Each of the projects proposed to receive funding will improve mobility in major freight corridors, complement current state highway investment, and provide jobs in communities experiencing significant business closures and unemployment.

“We targeted mega-projects that clearly need federal assistance to enable the projects to be built,” said Paula Hammond, Washington Transportation Secretary. “Our applications meet the TIGER grant criteria and also invest in construction-ready projects that are part of some of our most important corridor improvement programs.”

The $787 billion Recovery Act Congress passed in February included $1.5 billion for Surface Transportation Discretionary Grants, called TIGER grants. The U.S. Department of Transportation will review and score each application through a competitive process. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is expected to select projects in January. States are eligible to receive up to a maximum of $300 million in TIGER grants.

SR 520 Bridge Replacement – King County
The grant request is for $300 million to build the portion of the corridor on the east side of Lake Washington, from Medina to SR 202. The project would enhance safety, improve community livability, and provide mobility in one of Washington’s most economically important transportation corridors, extending HOV lanes, constructing new ramps and lids, providing a new bicycle and pedestrian path connection, and featuring the latest in traffic management and commuter information technology.

Columbia River Crossing – Vancouver, Wash. to Portland, Ore.
The grant request is for $147 million to build the SR 500 Interchange Project, which will provide improved mobility to and from I-5 commercial and industrial areas. This project is vital to reducing the construction impacts expected when the project replaces the I-5 Columbia River bridges.

US 395 North Spokane Corridor – Spokane
The grant request is for $35 million to build two southbound lanes from Francis Avenue to US 395, completing 3.7 miles of the highway in an economically important, NAFTA corridor. The northbound lanes were opened to traffic last month and are being used for both northbound and southbound traffic.

In addition, Governor Gregoire signed TIGER grant endorsement letters for two other projects:
City of Seattle: Mercer Street Project (Connects to the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement projects)
State of Oregon: Columbia River Crossing – Marine View Drive project
WSDOT continues to compete for eligible Recovery Act grant funds. WSDOT submitted applications for nearly $435 million in projects for high-speed passenger rail in August and is preparing to submit additional high-speed passenger rail applications in October.

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