Sumner’s traffic project is finally making some financial headway.
The city of Sumner successfully secured $300,000 in state funding, money that was sorely needed in order to get the ball rolling on several more grants for its Traffic Avenue/SR 410 improvement project.
“That $300,000 puts us in the best position to be asking for the freight mobility and the Puget Sound Regional Council grants,” said city Communication Director Carmen Palmer. “It gets the ball rolling.”
Palmer said Senators Pam Roach (R) and Bruce Dammeier (R) with representatives Drew Stokesbary (R), Christopher Hurst (D), Melanie Stambaugh (R) and Hans Zeiger (R) were the key legislators who help the city receive these funds.
The city plans to ask the Puget Sound Regional Council for a $1.65 million grant, which will cover the bulk of the project design and planning process, which is estimated to cost $2.2 million.
The Port of Tacoma also granted the city around $11,500.
“Numbers wise, it’s not quite the same as some of the other (grants), but it’s really important to help leverage some of the others, and the Port of Tacoma felt strongly about giving us that investment,” Palmer said.
The city hopes Sound Transit will also kick an additional $100,000 their way because the company plans to build a 500 stall garage for their Sumner station.
Other sources of funding include local support from other cities and private companies for around $150,000 and a grant match for another $550,000.
“Fingers crossed, in 2016, we get some combination of grants to get us to the full $2.2 million this year,” Palmer said. “That way we can do the design on 2017.”
Once the design of the improvements are complete, Palmer said the city will ask the Puget Sound Regional Council and Transportation Improvement Board for grants to fund construction.
These grants cycle every two years, so securing the design grants in 2017 is crucial for asking for construction grants in 2018, because without them, Sumner may have to wait another two years before getting shovels into the ground.
Current estimates put the construction costs at $14.7 million. The city hopes to secure $10.7 million in grants and ask the legislature to cover the remaining $4 million.
Sound Transit Station Improvements
Sound Transit announced March 31 that they have completed their environmental review for the Sumner Access Station improvements project.
This project goes hand-in-hand with the overall 410 interchange improvements, Palmer said, especially improvements to Traffic Ave.
Along with improving pedestrian and bicycle access to the station, Sound Transit is planning on building a 500 stall garage for the station.
“We have been working really closely with the city and citizens in the area over the last several years to come up with a good balance for more parking, more bike and pedestrian access in a town that wants to maintain its character,” said Sound Transit Public Information Officer Kimberly Reason. “Our riders have been telling us for a long time, ‘We need more ways to get to the station. We need more parking.’”
According to Reason, overall Sound Transit ridership increased 13 percent between October and December 2015, compared to the same time period in 2014.
And in January 2016, overall ridership increased 6 percent over January 2015.
An open house about the project, which includes a public comment period, is being hosted today, April 6, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Midtown Station, 813 Academy St.
There is also an information drop-in session Thursday, April 7 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Gordon Family YMCA, 16101 64th St E.
An online open house is available for residents who cannot attend either meeting.
Public comments will be accepted for the environmental review and checklist until April 14.