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Stimulus Newsletter May 12, 2010

During the peak of the Recovery Act, Stimulus News You Can Use was one way WSDOT kept transportation stakeholders updated on the fast-moving effort to put people to work and improve the state’s infrastructure. Each edition contained information on project delivery and highlights. Visit the Newsletter Archive for earlier editions.

May 12, 2010

This week's stimulus snapshotI-5 traffic passes under one of two bridges that will carry passenger trains on the bypass route.

  • Three local highway projects completed 
  • New project certification published 
  • TIGER project bids opened, to be re-advertised in June
  • New round of transit grants planned 
  • WSDOT plans environmental study for Point Defiance rail project
  • Important stimulus dates 
  • Useful Recovery Act web links 
  • Stimulus data table update

Three more local Recovery Act projects completed –

Update: TIGER North Spokane Corridor project to be readvertised –WSDOT will re-advertise the contract for the North Spokane Corridor TIGER Project in early June. The Federal Highway Administration has concurred with WSDOT to re-advertise based on ambiguity in the contract documents. Some of the contract requirements were interpreted differently by contractors, especially the “Buy American Certification.” Therefore, all four contractor bids received on the project have been rejected. The project to add southbound lanes on a 3.7 mile stretch of the North Spokane Corridor between Frances Avenue and Farwell Road received a $35 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant on February 17. Construction is still expected to start in summer 2010 with completion in late 2011 or possibly early 2012. See the project webpage for more information.

Latest certification reflects favorable bid climate – Governor Gregoire certified changes to 12 project budgets on May 5 that will make $896,194 available for other projects. The largest changes included $450,000 reduced from WSDOT’s US 195/Idaho State Line to Colton – Paving project and $221,194 reduced from Anacortes’ 6th Street Reconstruction project due to favorable bids. Surplus Recovery Act funds can pay for existing or additional Recovery Act projects and must be obligated by September 30, 2010.

FTA prepares for second round of TIGGER grants – Following the $100 million Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction) TIGGER grant program in the Recovery Act, the Federal Transit Administration is planning $75 million in new grants this year for transit agencies. The grants are designed to reduce transit energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Three Washington transit agencies (Community Transit, Link Transit, and C-Tran) received more than $5.9 million in TIGGER grants last year. The WSDOT Federal Transportation Issues blog has more information.

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee released latest project delivery rankings – Washington ranked 15th nationwide for percent of Recovery Act funds out to bid, under contract and under way on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s latest rankings released May 5. The committee’s website also provides the latest report on Recovery Act progress and state data by funding program.

Highlight of the week

WSDOT announces plan to review environmental studies for Point Defiance high speed rail project

WSDOT this week announced it will conduct a project level Environmental Assessment (EA) of the $91 million Point Defiance Bypass project, working closely with other agency and community stakeholders.

To ensure meaningful engagement and to maintain steady progress on the project, WSDOT has invited key stakeholders and municipalities within the project area to be part of an advisory teaThis map shows the route for the planned Point Defiance Bypass project.m that will provide input and review of the updated studies specifically focusing on potential traffic impacts. WSDOT will also seek public comment during the EA process.

The Point Defiance Bypass Project reroutes passenger trains to an existing rail line along the west side of I-5 through south Tacoma, Lakewood, and DuPont. Currently, passenger trains share the freight route along the coastline around Point Defiance. The completed project will result in more frequent and reliable passenger rail service between Seattle and Portland and free up the congested freight rail line, ultimately improving access to Washington ports and business.

Earlier this year, WSDOT received $590 million in High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail grant funding to accomplish a series of passenger rail service improvements along the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor. The grant funding was part of $8 billion made available through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The passenger rail grants are administered by the Federal Railroad Administration.

“While we are fortunate to have been awarded Recovery Act funding to expand Amtrak Cascades passenger rail service between Seattle and Portland, it is important that we achieve that goal in cooperation with the cities and local communities along the corridor,” said Paula Hammond, Washington Transportation Secretary. “We will all benefit from a deliberate, thorough and transparent process.”

Important dates

May 20: Next performance report due to House T & I Committee
June 4: FRA holds National Rail Plan meeting in Portland
July 10: Next performance report due to Office of Management and Budget
July 16: TIGER II pre-application deadline 
August 11: Transit application deadline for TIGGER grants 
August 23: Final TIGER II application deadline
September 30: Deadline for obligating Recovery Act highway funds

Websites of interest

WSDOT ARRA website:
Washington recovery website:
Federal recovery website:
FHWA recovery website:
Federal Transit Administration recovery website:
Federal Rail Administration recovery website:
Federal Aviation Administration recovery website:
OMB recovery website:

This week by the numbers (project dollars in millions)

Individual highway projects





Operationally complete

21 (45%)

77 (48%)

98 (47%)

Three additional projects completed this edition 

Awarded/under way1

45 (96%)

156 (96%)

201 (96%)

Includes completed projects


47 (100%)

157 (97%)

204 (98%)

Includes completed and awarded projects

Certified, awaiting advertisement

0 (0%)

5 (3%)

5 (2%)

These projects are planned for upcoming advertisement

Total highway funds





Obligated funds2

$340 (100%)

$152 (100%)

$492 (100%)

All funds were obligated by
March 2, 2010

Projects certified

47 (100%)

162 (100%)

209 (100%)

Three additional projects certified
in March

Projects obligated2

47 (100%)

159 (98%)

206 (99%)

FHWA has approved funds for the projects

Safety funding buckets ($12 stimulus)









State stimulus funds only





Includes completed projects





Includes completed and awarded projects

Transit projects




State total

Percent of total $179 awarded




Includes Washington State Ferries projects

Number of Transit projects obligated

35 of 35

19 of 19

20 of 20

55 of 55
FTA counts all rural projects as one project

March employment





Payroll (in millions)



for March

Cumulatively, $72 million to date 
Average wage is $38 per hour




171,263 for March

Employees have worked 1,867,991 hours to date




for March

FTE = 173 hours per month




for March

Note: Not a count of unique employees

This includes one state project that has stimulus funding authorized for pre-construction and is currently under way. 
2 All funds were obligated by the March 2, 2010 deadline as required by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. As projects develop, obligation totals will fluctuate as funds are deobligated due to low bids or savings are realized on project closeouts. Unobligated ARRA balances available to the Highway Construction Program will be used to fund Tier 3 projects. Local ARRA balances will be made available to three additional local projects which were certified on March 8. After September 30, 2010, ARRA funds may not be re-obligated and any balances will be turned over to FHWA for distribution back to the states for project cost increases. 

Last revised on April 11, 2014