Mukilteo ferry project gets a boost

MUKILTEO — After years of assembling, funding for a new Mukilteo ferry terminal is nearly in place.

A Puget Sound Regional Council panel Thursday recommended $12.1 million in additional federal dollars for the undertaking, providing one of the final pieces of a $129 million funding puzzle.

“This project has come a long way,” said Rick Olson, spokesman for the regional agency. “It secures a vital regional connection. It modernizes and re-energizes an historic place for generations and really maximizes value of the place for all the ways people move around now and in the future.”

The ferry money is among $690 million allotted to projects in Snohomish, King, Pierce and Kitsap counties by the council’s Transportation Policy Board. The full council is expected to ratify the board’s recommendations July 24 with final approval coming later this year after a period of public comment and air quality assessment.

In Snohomish County, tens of millions of dollars are earmarked for expanding bus service, repairing streets and launching the design and engineering of numerous road projects.

Community Transit, for example, will get nearly $900,000 toward the cost of adding service on Routes 201 and 202 between Smokey Point and the Lynnwood Transit Center. In all, 23 trips a day will be added on these popular routes which serve about 80,000 riders a month, or about 2,300 riders each weekday.

Expanded service on this route will start Sept. 29. It is part of several changes the transit district plans this fall including restoration of a connection between Mukilteo and the Lynnwood Transit Center and more frequent mid-day service between the Lynnwood Transit Center and Edmonds.

The city of Everett is in line to receive $2 million toward construction of a pedestrian overpass into Grand Avenue Park. The $6.5 million project is expected to be done by 2017, according to a report provided the council subcommittee.

Also, the city will get $1 million for repaving, restriping and other improvements to sections of Evergreen Way and Airport Road in 2017.

On Thursday, the Mukilteo Multimodal Project garnered much of the attention because so much energy has been expended to line up reliable sources of funding.

Of the $12.1 million distributed by the regional council, about $5 million is from the Federal Highway Administration and just over $7 million from the Federal Transit Administration.

All told, there is now $87 million penciled in from present and future state transportation budgets and $42 million committed in federal aid for engineering, design and construction.

Washington State Ferries hopes to begin work later this year with removal of an existing pier. Construction of the terminal itself is set to begin in 2017.

The new facility will replace the current terminal, used by 3.9 million vehicles and riders last year. The ferry system says it needs to be replaced because of its age and its susceptibility to earthquakes.

Once complete, the new terminal will have a pedestrian loading bridge, a six-bay bus transit center and improved connections to the nearby Sound Transit commuter rail station.

“People in Northwest Washington understand that ferries are an extension of our highway system,” said U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., who helped snag money in the 2007 and 2009 federal transportation budgets. “This project highlights that federal, state and private stakeholders can work together to make needed improvements to our transportation infrastructure.”

A complete list of projects recommended for funding can be found online at www.psrc.org.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com

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