News

Triangle is short by $100 million

By ERICA HALL

Staff writer

A regional funding recommendation for Federal Way’s Triangle project ended up $100 million short, but project supporters aren’t ready to give up yet.

A group of city officials and business leaders decided at a meeting last Friday to send letters to Regional Transportation Investment District (RTID) members and to congressional delegates “emphasizing the city’s position the Triangle should be fully funded at $200 million,” assistant city manager Derek Matheson said.

City leaders also are contemplating directly contacting members of the RTID’S executive board, which ultimately will make the final recommendation of transportation project funding to county councils in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties.

In addition, the group that met last Friday will meet again at 8 a.m. June 1 to come up with a game plan for testifying about the project at the RTID executive board’s June 3 meeting.

The Triangle project addresses the dangerous convergence of State Route 161, State Route 18 and Interstate 5 in Federal Way. Design plans propose building new flyover ramps and interchanges to smooth the exits and entrances for drivers leaving one freeway for another, or leaving the freeways to come into Federal Way.

Federal Way’s public works director, Carey Roe, presented a plan last Friday for building in phases if the project can’t get the whole $200 million.

But the plan — building the access from westbound State Route 18 to southbound Interstate 5 and building a frontage road on the west side of I-5 between South 348th Street and Enchanted Parkway — left no one thrilled.

“Everyone in this group feels it should not be phased,” Matheson said.

The RTID late last month adopted a $13 billion list of transportation projects and recommended the list for voter approval on this November’s general election ballot.

King County’s share of projects comes to about $7.3 billion and includes $1 billion for the Alaskan Way Viaduct, $1 billion for State Route 520, $1.9 billion for Interstate 405, $820 million for the Interstate 405/State Route 167 interchange, $900 million to finish State Route 509 improvements to I-5, $100 million for the Triangle project in Federal Way, $500 million for work on SR-167, and $875 million for light rail from the University District in Seattle to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

King County Executive Ron Sims “included light rail as a transit component to get voter approval,” Matheson told the Federal Way City Council at a meeting May 4.

The remaining King County projects include $35 million for State Route 518, $80 million for the State Route 99/Pacific Highway north corridor, $60 million for State Route 522 transit and $20 million for other road projects.

County councils in all three counties must approve the entire package for it to move forward. The three councils will hear public comment in their respective counties before sending their recommendations to the RTID board for a vote June 17.

Voters will ultimately pass or fail the tri-county transportation plan in November.

Staff writer Erica Hall: 925-5565, ehall@fedwaymirror.com

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