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Stimulus Newsletter September 8 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.

September 8, 2010

This week's stimulus snapshot

  • TIGER project groundbreaking events held in Spokane and Seattle 
  • One more state Recovery Act project completed 
  • Two highway projects advertised 
  • WSDOT and BNSF Railway signed high speed rail agreement 
  • Deer Park project won award 
  • Important stimulus dates 
  • Useful Recovery Act web links 
  • Stimulus data table update

Construction begins on TIGER projects in Spokane and Seattle – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood participated in the groundbreaking of WSDOT’s North Spokane Corridor project on Tuesday and Seattle’s Mercer Corridor project on Wednesday. The projects received Recovery Act grants totaling $65 million in February following a nationwide competition. The North Spokane Corridor project will add three southbound lanes and five new bridges over a 3.7 mile-section of US 395, creating a fully divided highway. It also will mark the completion of the travel lanes for the north half of the 10-mile North Spokane Corridor. The Seattle Mercer Corridor project will eventually provide a direct two-way route between I-5 and the waterfront, improving access to Seattle Center and the industrial and port facilities on Seattle’s west side.

One more Recovery Act highway project completed – The SR 503, Rock Creek Bridge to Fredrickson Road project was completed August 30. The project included resurfacing more than 10 miles of SR 503 between Rock Creek Bridge and Fredrickson Road (mileposts 35.5-46) and upgrading the existing guardrail to meet current federal standards.

Two more highway projects advertised –

Deer Park project received award – The Federal Highway Administration and WSDOT awarded the city of Deer Park’s Crawford Avenue Phase V Reconstruction project with an award of excellence. The project, completed last year, provided pedestrians and motorists safer access the central business district of Deer Park, as well as the surrounding parks and schools in the area. In addition to several other safety improvements, the city built a state-of-the-art roundabout, alleviating long backups. This project is the last in a series of five, completing all planned improvements on Crawford Avenue from US 395 to the east city limits. Including $1.7 million in Recovery Act funding, the total cost of this project was $1.9 million.

Federal Transportation Blog highlights this week – Check the WSDOT Federal Issues blog for recent items on President Obama's new plan for advancing more transportation construction and updates on the development of a six-year reauthorization bill. 

Highlight of the week

New agreement expected to lead to improved Amtrak Cascades service –
WSDOT and BNSF Railway signed an agreement September 2 that ultimately will result in more frequent and more reliable Amtrak Cascades service between Seattle and Portland.

The “Memorandum of Agreement” between WSDOT and BNSF clears the way for the state to begin initial work this fall using some of the $590 million in federal grants awarded to Washington in January. This money is part of the Recovery Act high-speed rail grants, administered by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

The agreement sets the framework for the two organizations to deliver rail-improvement projects that achieve reliability and on-time performance goals for both passenger and freight rail service. This is important on rail lines shared by these two types of rail services.

With these stimulus funds, the goal is to add two additional Amtrak Cascades daily roundtrips between Seattle and Portland, for a total of six. The improvements are also intended to reduce travel times, as well as improve average on-time performance from the line’s current 62 percent to more than 80 percent. The work will increase rail-corridor capacity and relieve main-line rail congestion by building bypass tracks and making multiple upgrades to existing track.

"I commend the state of Washington and the BNSF Railway for finalizing a Memorandum of Agreement that will pave the way for improved freight and passenger rail service along the vitally important Cascade Corridor between Seattle and Portland,” said Ray LaHood, U.S. secretary of transportation. “This balanced agreement recognizes BNSF’s reputation for providing on-time passenger service, while ensuring strong performance outcomes for both freight and passenger operations. This major step forward could not have occurred without a strong commitment from both parties, and their partnership will serve as a model for other states and railroads as we work to achieve President Obama's vision for high-speed rail in America."

The WSDOT high speed rail page has more information.

Important dates

September 20: Next accountability report to the T & I Committee
September 30: Deadline for obligating Recovery Act highway funds
Fall: Next high-speed rail grant announcements expected
Fall: TIGER II award announcements expected
October 14: Next quarterly accountability report due

Websites of interest

WSDOT ARRA website:
WSDOT Federal Transportation Issues blog:
Washington recovery website:
Federal recovery website:
FHWA recovery website:
Federal Transit Administration recovery website:
Federal Railroad 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

29 (57%)

107 (64%)

136 (63%)

One additional project completed this edition 

Awarded/under way1

47 (96%)

161 (96%)

208 (96%)

Includes completed projects


48 (98%)

162 (96%)

210 (97%)

Includes completed and awarded projects

Certified, awaiting advertisement

1 (2%)

6 (3%)

7 (3%)

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

49 (100%)

168 (100%)

217 (100%)

One additional project certified 
in August

Projects obligated2

49 (100%)

166 (99%)

215 (99%)

FHWA has approved funds for the projects

Safety funding buckets ($12 stimulus)














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

July employment





Payroll (in millions)



$6.9 for July

Cumulatively, $113.9 million to date 
- Average wage is $38 per hour




for July

Employees have worked 2,948,436 hours to date




for July

FTE = 173 hours per month




3,998 for July

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.  
* TIGER projects are not included in this table.

Last revised on April 11, 2014