The NVN ran a front-page story on January 13, 2008 entitled “Yelm Loop endorsed by Thurston County Chamber”. Quoting their story,
“The Yelm Avenue bypass has won the endorsement of the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce.
The project is important to improved traffic flow in the county, said David Schaffert, CEO and president of the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce.
The Thurston County Chamber included support of the bypass as one of its 2008 Leadership Positions…
The decision to publicly announce and to provide support for the project came as the chamber felt the issue became timely and attracted immense public interest.
A total of $33 million has already been raised through the Transportation Partnership Act in 2005 and a gas tax to buy the land for building the Yelm Avenue bypass.
By this summer, the state should have appraisals of all the properties of interest in the path of the Yelm Loop, said Cameron Harper, design project leader for the state Department of Transportation…
Harper said he is unsure about how the state will find funding for the construction of the project.
While all of this talk of a Yelm Bypass by Mayor Harding, Yelm’s City Council, the Thurston County Commissioners and now the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce is laudable, the mere talk does not address what the State planned in funding for this road.
The Olympian reported January 9th “Regional leaders list priorities.
City of Yelm Director of Community Development told the Thurston County Commissioners last Fall that the city was seeking funding during the 2009 Legislative Session (winter) for the 2009-2011 biennium.
As I reported here on December 26, Yelm Bypass funding in 2009 is really “pie-in-the-sky” and the continued talk with statements such as “actively pursuing funding” is said to sound and feel good for public consumption, however funding is very unlikely in this economic environment, until some way-off date. In the meantime, it’s business (and unabated growth) as usual, and now with Yelm’s Super Wal-Mart that was permitted to be built only if their traffic was mitigated with the Bypass. Ha! Ha!
As I said in December and echoed by Gov. Gregoire’s comments, large projects in King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties (the viaduct in Seattle, 520 floating bridge and I-5 through downtown Seattle) are at the forefront for funding priorities. “The state has no more money available for added transportation projects,” quoting the Governor.
And, the Bypass is over $56 million unfunded.
Here are details from WSDOT on funding priorities and where Yelm’s Bypass is targeting in the funding timetable.
You can see that the Yelm Bypass is a Tier II strategy for funding (scroll down to pages 67 & 70), meaning it’s way down on the list.
BOTTOM LINE: WHEN IT COMES TO OFFICIALS TALKING A YELM BYPASS BEING OPERATIONAL BY 2013 – 2015, THAT IS ALL WISHFUL THINKING.
BASED ON THE FACTS, WHAT DO YOU THINK?