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Senator Marilyn Rasmussen
Photo from Senator Rasmussen’s official website

“The state Senate today [Feb. 27] approved their version of the 2008 Supplemental Transportation Budget by a 39-10 vote. The budget includes funding for two projects of special interest to residents in east Thurston and south Pierce counties: improvements to the intersection of State Route 7 (Mountain Highway) and 304, and the accelerated construction schedule for the Yelm Bypass.”

Sen. Marilyn Rasmussen, D-Eatonville, explained on her website,
“Funding in the supplemental budget for the Yelm Bypass was originally slated to be delayed, but a floor amendment by Rasmussen to restore an accelerated construction schedule was adopted and included in the final budget.

‘The 510 bypass project is vital to the local economy and has a regional impact beyond Yelms borders,’ said Yelm Mayor Ron Harding. ‘People will see reduced commute times and businesses will be more likely to locate here if there is an improved transportation system.’

‘These are two-lane farm-to-market roads that handle thousands and thousands of cars and trucks daily,’ Rasmussen said. ‘Im absolutely delighted to know that Phase 1 can get started this spring.’

The Senate proposal and the House proposal will go to a conference committee to reconcile any differences before being sent to the Governor.”

In summary, the $33 million funding that was reinstated was for the Bypass design and right-of-way acquisition from the 2005 gas tax and was being cut in the Governor’s 2008-2009 budget. Our State Legislators got that previously promised gas tax funding reinstated and fast tracked.
More details can be found on this blog entry from March 1st.

Representative Tom Campbell
Photo from Representative Campbell’s official website

Rep. Tom Campbell has been championing to preserve the funding schedule to the House committee and he told his recent Yelm Town Hall audience he was optimistic about funding this road. Being on the House Transportation Committee helps.
He got some needed help from Sen. Marilyn Rasmussen to convince the Senate committee funding for this road was vital.
The House and Senate are now in agreement to fund the bypass according to the Governor’s budget recommendation, so the governor will likely sign the bill.

Kudos to Rep. Campbell, who has kept his word so far on delivering funds for the bypass. His next step will be a year from now (in a non-election year) when he goes to secure the construction funds.

Should that also be successful, the $56 million estimate listed on the WSDOT website for construction assumes construction will start in 2013. WSDOT estimates a timeline of December 2012 to certify the
right of way. So, look for groundbreaking about 2013, and the ribbon cutting and first traffic in 2015, unless other issues get in the way.

The Yelm Super Wal-Mart was only permitted with their traffic being mitigated by a Bypass. So, for at least 8 years after their 2007 opening, there will be no Bypass to mitigate their traffic.
While a Yelm Bypass seems closer to fruition now, what will this area do to handle the traffic mess we have today through to 2015, traffic that keeps growing each year with no further improvements slated to handle the additional traffic loads?

Posted by Steve on March 11, 2008 at 6:21 am | Permalink

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