The federal infrastructure bill is likely to include money to replace the westbound U.S. 2 trestle, seen here Thursday on the right, between Everett and Lake Stevens. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

The federal infrastructure bill is likely to include money to replace the westbound U.S. 2 trestle, seen here Thursday on the right, between Everett and Lake Stevens. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

What the infrastructure bill could mean for Snohomish County

Millions of dollars could help replace the U.S. 2 trestle, electrify buses and change rail crossings.

EVERETT — The federal infrastructure bill is expected to bring hundreds of millions of dollars to projects across Snohomish County.

Portions of the $550 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act could be funneled to the U.S. 2 trestle replacement, low-emission and zero-emission buses and ferries, removing at-grade rail crossings in Edmonds and Marysville and securing light rail to Everett.

“The $381 million in this bill for Sound Transit and additional money for transit agencies will help deal with the continued funding shortfall that Sound Transit has faced since the beginning of the COVID pandemic,” U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell said. “Getting further into Snohomish County is a must.”

Replacing the westbound trestle is estimated to cost over $1 billion, but securing funding through the Legislature has proven difficult. Two money pots in the bill — $36.7 billion to repair and replace bridges and $5 billion for “mega-projects” that don’t neatly conform to transportation funding programs — could help redo that link between Everett and Lake Stevens.

Based on past funding formulas, $1.79 billion could boost the state’s public transit agencies. Sound Transit, which serves King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, could get $381 million for maintenance backlogs, capital projects and to keep light rail construction to Everett and Tacoma on schedule.

Community Transit could use the calculated $89 million on expanding the Swift bus rapid transit system and buying zero-emission buses, spokesman Martin Munguia said in an email. Everett Transit was identified as possibly receiving $7 million, according to Cantwell’s office. If the city received that money, it would go toward more electric buses to replace the fleet’s diesel and hybrid-diesel coaches, as well as a wireless charging station, spokesman Julio Cortes said.

“In general, this infrastructure package will be helpful as Community Transit continues to expand equitable transportation options to meet Snohomish County’s growth,” Munguia said.

Everett leaders also are hopeful for bridge replacement, other transportation improvements and water and wastewater utility infrastructure funds.

The bill also includes $3 billion to eliminate at-grade railroad crossings. Cantwell, an Edmonds resident, cited an incident in 2016, in which a person died after running onto the tracks ahead of an approaching train. The locomotive was stationary for almost three hours, blocking both crossings at Dayton and Main streets.

“This required first responders to literally crawl through the rail cars to aid a pregnant woman who was due to give birth,” Cantwell said in March.

A report she authored then noted that to fix fewer than half of the 50 highest-priority crossings in Washington would cost over $830 million. Edmonds and Marysville are both identified as priority crossings. Separating traffic from the railroad has long been a concern for Marysville, but the solutions are too expensive for the city alone.

“As with most funding opportunities, if this is a viable option and the funding program fits our project needs, then we will pursue funds,” Marysville spokeswoman Connie Mennie said in an email. The city’s priority is to create railroad over-crossings at Grove Street and at 156th Street NE.

Improving fish passage accounts for about $1.5 billion of the bill. Cantwell wrote the provision for $1 billion toward the National Culvert Removal, Replacement and Restoration Grant Program, and another $400 million is marked for a new community-based restoration program focused on removing fish barriers.

State agencies are required by a court decision to make road crossings navigable for fish again.

The state has 3,965 highway crossings on fish-bearing waters, according to a Washington State Department of Transportation report in June. Over half are barriers to fish passage, including 2,040 culverts that are not adequately sized.

Snohomish County owns and is responsible for 1,731 stream-crossing culverts. Of those, 327 are partial barriers and 209 are total barriers, said Meghan Jordan of Snohomish County Public Works.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is working with the county on a complete inventory of county-owned culverts this year. It costs between $300,000 and $1 million to replace each fish-barrier culvert, according to county estimates.

Because the federal money will be distributed through grants, the county will prepare a list of priority projects and identify which can begin construction in the next two years, to improving their chances of securing money.

There’s also $71 million for electric vehicle (EV) charging network expansion statewide.

“Ultimately, the bill would provide opportunities for the PUD to build on our current electric transportation plan, but it would not change our overall philosophy,” PUD spokesman Aaron Swaney said. “We will continue our focus on building a community of EV drivers, optimizing the grid for EV charging and enabling adoption of EVs through incentives, pilots and rates.”

Funding for energy efficiency would help some of the district’s low-income customers, schools and workforce training programs.

The bill also aims to shrink the digital divide with $65 billion for broadband, which the PUD and a consulting firm are studying.

Airports are another arena.

The bill contains $15 billion for the national Airport Improvement grant program, with an estimated $384.7 million to be distributed over five years to airports in Washington through existing funding formulas.

Paine Field is expected to receive $16 million, with Arlington Municipal Airport and Harvey Field in Snohomish each getting $1.48 million.

Airports would have flexibility to use the money not only for projects like maintaining runways but for broader needs, too, like terminal and gate construction, multi-modal projects and low-emission ground service vehicles, according to the bill.

“We welcome the news of these new federal investments,” Arif Ghouse, director of Paine Field in Everett, said in a statement. “Paine Field is a critical transportation asset that accounts for nearly $60 billion in annual economic activity. Investments in Paine Field will help us support our tenants and the economic success of our entire region.”

The ports of Everett and Edmonds are eyeing $6.25 billion in two buckets. Those dollars, which will be given out through a competitive grant process, can be used for maintaining and upgrading port facilities.

“This package would be great for ports as it bolsters existing programs and allows for more investment and modernization of seaport facilities and supply chain logistics,” said Lisa Lefeber, chief executive officer and executive director of the Port of Everett.

The bill also has a few pilot programs that could involve participants from Snohomish County.

For example, there is money for a pilot program for a motor vehicle per-mile user fee. It will be national in scope and they will be looking for volunteers from all 50 states.

Ben Watanabe: bwatanabe@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3037; Twitter @benwatanabe.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A Cessna 150 crashed north of Paine Field on Friday evening, Feb. 16, 2024, in Mukilteo, Washington. The pilot survived without serious injury. (Courtesy of Richard Newman.)
‘I’m stuck in the trees’: 911 call recounts plane crash near Paine Field

Asad Ali was coming in for a landing in a Cessna 150 when he crashed into woods south of Mukilteo. Then he called 911 — for 48 minutes.

Everett
Snohomish County likely to feel more like winter, beginning Monday

Get ready for a mix of rain and snow this week, along with cooler temperatures.

Anthony Boggess
Arlington man sentenced for killing roommate who offered shelter

Anthony Boggess, 33, reported hearing the voices of “demons” the night he strangled James Thrower, 65.

Ryan Rafter appears in court for sentencing Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Man sentenced to life in prison for murder of Everett father

In April 2022, Ryan Rafter, 42, shot Christopher Buck, 29, to death after breaking in to his home to steal drugs.

Marysville
Driver strikes, kills Marysville man who was crossing I-5 in Seattle

The man’s car had broken down near Mercer Street. Troopers reported that he was struck when he tried to cross the freeway.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Darrington in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Police: Darrington woman stabbed, buried 5-year-old daughter

The woman reportedly told investigators she was hearing voices before she killed her young daughter on Valentine’s Day.

In this Feb. 5, 2018, file photo a Boeing 737 MAX 7 is displayed during a debut for employees and media of the new jet in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
FAA gives Boeing 90 days to develop plan to fix quality, safety issues

The agency’s ultimatum comes a day after a meeting with CEO Dave Calhoun and other top Boeing officials in Washington, D.C.

A view of one of the potential locations of the new Aquasox stadium on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024 in Everett, Washington. The site sits between Hewitt Avenue, Broadway, Pacific Avenue and the railroad. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
20 businesses could be demolished for downtown Everett stadium

Some business owners say the city didn’t tell them of plans for a new AquaSox stadium that could displace their businesses.

A person walks out of the Snohomish County Corrections building on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish County Jail review finds no fault in Florida inmate’s death

David Koeppen, 38, was the third inmate in two months to die in the jail. He was being held on murder charges.

Everett
Snohomish County pharmacy tech accused of stealing 2,500 opioid pills

Rachel Langdon stole oxycodone while working at a Snohomish County pharmacy, according to state Department of Health allegations.

Sen. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, left, a member of the Tulalip Tribes of Washington, speaks Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, right, looks on at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. After the speech, Inslee signed a bill sponsored by McCoy that seeks to improve oral health on Indian reservations in Washington state. The measure is the first bill the governor has signed this legislative session and it allows tribes to use federal funding for dental therapists. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Curriculum on state tribes to be renamed after late Tulalip legislator

On Tuesday, John McCoy’s former colleagues in the Senate honored the late lawmaker by passing House Bill 1879.

Lynnwood
Man stabbed, killed inside Lynnwood-area condo

Detectives were looking to identify suspects in a killing Monday night at the Brio Condominiums.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.