Transit center gets $2.5 million


Staff writer

The $2.5 million recently secured for the transit center project in Federal Way is only a fraction of the anticipated $50 million budget to build the parking garage, transit center and freeway access ramps, but Sound Transit planners are happy to get it, all the same.

“All money is valuable money in these economic times,” Sound Transit spokesman Lee Somerstein said.

The un-earmarked funding, secured by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray in the 2003 federal transportation spending bill, was distributed last Monday to the Central Puget Sound Regional Authority, which will administer the money for Sound Transit.

Murray said she worked to get the funding because the Federal Way transit center will help improve transportation throughout the area.

“Every day, thousands of residents in the Federal Way area rely on transit to get to work, to doctor’s appointments and to family gatherings,” she said in a statement. “The new transit center will provide much-needed parking and will offer convenient connections to local and regional buses. Improving our transportation network helps our economy, our productivity and our quality of life.”

Alex Glass, spokeswoman for Murray, said the senator remains concerned about the “crippling traffic in the Puget Sound region.”

The parking garage, transit center and direct-access ramps planned for downtown Federal Way have been a contentious issue for some city businesses and residents. They say the project will exacerbate traffic in an already congested area and will increase the levels of noise and air pollution downtown.

Glass said Murray’s efforts to secure money for the transit center project were independent of complaints in the city and sought to alleviate congestion and boost economic recovery in the region.

“One would hope local concerns are addressed at the local level” before they reach Murray’s desk, Glass said, adding the senator supports “anything we can do to invest in transportation infrastructure in the long run.”

The transit center is anticipated to be up to a five-story, 1,200-stall parking garage connected to bus bays and covered waiting areas at 23rd Avenue South and South 317th Street, near Gateway Center. The project also includes access ramps to high-occupancy vehicle lanes on Interstate 5.

Construction of the center is expected to begin during the spring of 2004 and end in 2005.

Staff writer Erica Hall: 925-5565,

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