THE HONORABLE MAYOR RON HARDING
This writer acknowledges Mayor Harding, the City Council and City Staff for all of their fine work in getting funding and construction on the Inner Loop. Certainly, this city’s traffic is the number one issue and for drivers to finally have an east/west alternative to the choked traffic through Yelm is an asset.
However, I do wish to raise an issue and question the heralding by officials of Yelm’s Bypass construction to begin in 2009 using left-over right-of-way acquisition funding of $9-10 million, as the Mayor reportedly stated to the Yelm Chamber Forum on Tuesday, April 8, 2009. Regarding Mayor Harding’s assertion, I ask anyone to present where the $10M construction fund is located in the Transportation Budget.
The Yelm Loop Project team has posted their April 2008 status on the WSDOT website still saying:
“The construction phase is not currently funded” !
As I mentioned previously, there is a potential to start construction in 2009. However, at this point, only a politician’s verbal promise to get construction funded as part of the Winter 2009 Legislative
Session is all that exists. To get the money put into a construction account, we need majorities in the House and Senate, and then a signature by the Governor. None of that has happened yet, so there is no guarantee at this point.
Quoting the March 14th edition of the Nisqually Valley News in a story titled “Bypass funding is back on track”, Mayor Ron Harding is quoted as saying, “It is quite possible they could start phase one of the construction project in 2009.” Again, please let us know where the $10M construction fund is located in the Transportation Budget.
The status of this project was throughly outlined in the March 21 blog entry that was WSDOT fact-checked and remains current today as verified by this writer’s WSDOT source…
Quoting Mayor Ron Harding in the Nisqually Valley News last week, Some say we should stop growing, but council and I have always contended that was the wrong decision.
Whenever I raise an issue with City Hall, they are predisposed to thinking I am being critical or anti-growth.
Such is not the case. I am for a through research and reporting of the facts as well as for controlled growth,
rather than the unbridled growth going on here for the last 3 years, with little regard for the future of the land & Mother Nature to handle thousands of homes (traffic, water & sewage). Yes, I called on the city to stop approving new construction until issues regarding water availability and aquifer recharging can be addressed. How can this city continue accepting applications for new homes without having first acquired water rights to support them? And, an unfunded Bypass is still approx. 7-8 years away from opening, when funding IS approved for that road. There are no more additional connector streets planned in Yelm’s urban core in the Six-year Transportation Improvement Program covering a period through 2013, only upgrades to existing streets. While the Mayor says in the April 11 NVN “congestion in Yelm has decreased and Levels of Service increased at various intersections throughout the city,” how is this town going to handle the traffic from over 1,000 new homes being planned in the next 5 years with no increase in our roads capacity? Remember, the Bypass is still years away from opening, so the Inner Loop and existing streets will have to handle the annual increases in traffic.
ONE CANNOT HAVE CONSTRUCTIVE DIFFERENCES & RAISE AWARENESS ON ISSUES WITH THIS CITY WITHOUT BEING LABELED IN SOME MANNER AND SPUN AS ANTI-SOMETHING. THAT IS ASHAME AND REFLECTS THE MALAISE HERE, INDICATED BY THE LACK OF PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND ISSUES.
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