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LAUGH FOR THE DAY! YELM BYPASS BY 2015? CONSTRUCTION FUNDING IN JEOPARDY

The Yelm City Council will adopt Resolution Number 486 establishing the 2009 to 2014 Yelm Six Year Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) tonight.

“The six year transportation improvement program (STIP) is the capital facilities document that guides transportation funding for a six year cycle. The STIP is based on the Yelm Comprehensive Transportation Plan and is the implementation document for the overall plan. Projects that are not on the STIP are not eligible for State or Federal funding, or the use of local Traffic Facilities Charges (TFCs). Although it is a six year plan, it is required to be updated annually as projects are completed and new priorities arise…
The Yelm Transportation Committee has prepared an updated six year transportation improvement program for the Councils consideration and adoption,” quoting the City of Yelm Staff report for the Council.
The SR 510 Yelm Loop (Bypass) is listed as the number one project.

LET’S PUT ON OUR THINKING CAPS!

WHY DOES YELM’S COMPREHENSIVE TRANSPORTATION PLAN ANNUALLY INCLUDE A ROAD THAT HAS NOT BEEN FUNDED FOR CONSTRUCTION?

IS THE BYPASS LIKELY TO BE FUNDED TO BEGIN CONSTRUCTION SOON?

Yelm Blog readers read the answer to that here first, months ago!

I wrote this over the weekend to Cindy Teixeira , Yelm’s Community and Government Relations Coordinator:

Dear Ms. Teixeira,

Mayor Harding told the Yelm Chamber Forum on Tuesday, April 8 that Yelm’s Bypass construction is set to begin in 2009 using left-over right-of-way acquisition funding of $9-10 million and was quoted in the March 14th edition of the Nisqually Valley News in a story titled “Bypass funding is back on track” saying in the text, “It is quite possible they could start phase one of the construction project in 2009.”

Ms. Teixeira, in speaking to the Washington State Dept. of Transportation (WSDOT), they tell me,
“Ask Mayor Harding to present where the $10M construction fund is located in the Transportation Budget?”
[Note: The right-of-way acquisition has not been completed, so how can anyone know how much will remain?]

Only a politician’s verbal promise [Rep. Tom Campbell] to get construction funded as part of the Winter 2009 Legislative Session is all that exists. [Ed. Note: So as not to be misconstrued, Rep. Campbell has been a tireless voice heralding to the legislature the need for Bypass funding. His efforts along with Sen. Rasmussen kept funding alive in 2008. His staunch voice will be a light shining in darkness, as he is the only one that has gone on-record at a Yelm Town Hall committed to bringing this funding issue up in 2009!] 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.

“WSDOT has already begun to delay some of the lower profile projects in its overall plan, as is necessary to balance the Transportation budget for this biennium and beyond,” says WSDOT.

That was told to me when oil was at $68 a barrel. Last week, oil sold for $145 a barrel and gas is now $4.50 a gallon.

The chance that the Legislature will again overturn the Governor’s veto this year on Bypass Funding is slim and to do so would be considered foolhardy in this economic environment, with the county and state tallying major deficits.

From KING-5 News last week:
“Mostly because of the gas tax, money flowing to the Department of Transportation is now down $77 million from projections, or 2%.

If this keeps up, the next two year budget forecast calls for another $137 million loss.

‘We’re probably going to go back to the Legislature and ask them to delay some things,’ said Paula Hammond, Secretary of Transportation.

Hammond says some big unstarted projects could end up on hold, while simpler maintenance items like re-paving jobs are likely to be put off first.”

That means the Yelm Bypass is in serious jeopardy.

May I request a comment from you and/or Mayor Harding on the Yelm Bypass status, ahead of the City Council discussing the STIP?

Ms. Teixeira responded that my inquiry was forwarded to Mayor Harding.
There has been no response from the Mayor, as per usual.

WHAT SAY YOU?

THE VERY ROAD THAT IS CONTINUALLY USED AS YELM’S SAVIOR FOR TRAFFIC STILL HAS NOT BEEN FUNDED FOR CONSTRUCTION!

WITH THE STATE DEFICIT, GAS TAX REVENUES DECLINING AND THE LAST OF A 9 CENT GAS TAX JUST ADDED TO EVERY GALLON LAST WEEK, MORE NEW GAS TAXES BEING ADDED ON CONSUMERS’ BACKS ARE OUT OF THE QUESTION. THAT MEANS CUTS TO ROAD PROJECTS ARE COMING SOON!

A YELM BYPASS OPENING BEFORE 2015? LAUGHABLE!

Posted by Steve on July 8, 2008 at 7:33 am | Permalink

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