Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Seven weeks into the legislation session, I wanted to update you on my two highest transportation priorities: replacing the Meridian Street/SR 161 Bridge over the Puyallup River, and completing Highway 167 to the Port of Tacoma. As a member of the House Transportation Committee, I hope to be your voice in the Legislature for congestion relief and infrastructure improvements.
Recently the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) found that the Meridian Street/SR 161 Bridge over the Puyallup River had deteriorated considerably. Read The News Tribune article here. As a result, heavy truck travel is now restricted in the northbound direction to the right lane. The bridge was built in 1925. It is the main connecting point between Puyallup and Highway 167, as well as communities like Edgewood and Milton to the north. We need to replace this bridge as quickly as possible. I am working with fellow legislators and WSDOT to ensure that this is the number one bridge replacement project in the state.
Just north of the bridge is the awkward end of Highway 167, which has long been in need of extension to I-5 in Fife and on to the port in order to relieve congestion in the area, cut down travel time from Puyallup to I-5, and accommodate freight between the ports of Tacoma and Seattle. The completion of Highway 167 is a serious priority for members of the Pierce County legislative delegation, and it ought to be a major concern for the entire state. Our global competitiveness depends on new infrastructure for commerce.
Funding for the completion of Highway 167 will likely come from a combination of gas taxes, federal funds, and tolling. The WSDOT recently concluded phase 1 of a study on the potentials for tolling. The governor's proposed transportation budget includes $1 million for the next phase of the tolling feasibility study. I will work to ensure this funding remains in the budget as we get closer to the time when we can begin laying new pavement.
Please contact me if you have ideas or suggestions about how to improve our local roads and state highways.
468 John L.O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7968 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000