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Stimulus Newsletter February 3, 2010

During the peak of the Recovery Act, Stimulus News You Can Use was one way WSDOT kept transportation stakeholders updated on the fast-moving effort to put people to work and improve the state’s infrastructure. Each edition contained information on project delivery and highlights. Visit the Newsletter Archive for earlier editions.

February 3, 2010

The stimulus story this week

Washington State received $590 million for high speed rail on January 27. The award will help improve the Pacific Northwest High Speed Rail Corridor, including projects to increase speeds and on-time performance, while reducing travel times and rail congestion. The U.S. Department of Transportation is expected to announce more Recovery Act awards later this month with the $1.5 billion in TIGER grants expected by February 17. Washington has more than 97% of Recovery Act highway funds obligated and is on pace to obligate the remaining funds before the March 2 target for 100% obligation.

This week by the numbers (project dollars in millions)

Individual highway projects





Total highway funds





Obligated funds

$333 (97%)

$147.9 (97%)

$480.9 (97%)

All funds must be obligated by March 2, 2010

Projects certified1

48 (100%)

158 (100%)

206 (100%)

Nine new individual projects certified last month

Projects obligated

40 (83%)

155 (98%)

195 (95%)

FHWA has obligated some or all funds for the projects

Project delivery to date

Operationally complete

21 (44%)

70 (44%)

91 (44%)

Two projects reported complete this edition


34 (71%)

141 (89%)

175 (85%)

Includes completed projects


39 (77%)

149 (94%)

188 (91%)

Includes completed and awarded projects

Certified, awaiting advertisment

8 (17%)

8 (5%)

16 (8%)

These projects, including several receiving surplus funds, are planned for upcoming advertisement.

Safety funding buckets ($12 stimulus)









State stimulus funds only





Includes completed projects





Includes completed and awarded projects

Transit projects




State total

Percent of total $179 awarded




Includes Washington State Ferries projects

Number of Transit projects obligated

33 of 35

18 of 19

20 of 20

52 of 55
FTA counts all rural projects as one project

December employment








for December

Cumulatively, $51.9 million in payroll to date 
Average wage is $38 per hour




for December

Employees have worked 1,362,759 hours to date




for December

FTE = 173 hours per month




for December

Note: Not a count of unique employees

1 This includes one state project that will no longer be funded with Recovery Act funds and is planned for decertification.
This includes one state project that has stimulus funding authorized for pre-construction and is currently under way.

Key issues: State

Washington receives $590 million for High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail – Washington State received $590 million to improve rail service and increase travel speeds on the Pacific Northwest High Speed Rail Corridor. The projects are expected to reduce travel times, improve reliability, and reduce railway and highway congestion. The grant was part of $8 billion in federal stimulus funds awarded to 31 states and the District of Columbia on January 27. The WSDOT high speed rail page, federal transportation blog and a high speed rail Q & A each provide good background information.

Washington prepares for March 2 obligation target – WSDOT and local governments have obligated $480.9 million of $492 million in Recovery Act highway funds. An obligation is a commitment—the Federal government’s promise to pay the State for the Federal share of a project’s eligible cost. This commitment occurs when the project is approved by the Federal Highway Administration and the accompanying project agreement is executed. States must obligate 100% of Recovery Act funds by March 2 or lose funds to other states that meet the requirement. Due to favorable bids, stimulus projects are averaging well under their anticipated budgets. Surplus funds originally obligated to projects are being used to deliver additional projects. The following steps will put WSDOT on track to meet the March 2 100% obligation requirement. Once WSDOT meets the 100% obligation, Recovery Act funds no longer needed for current Recovery Act projects will be moved to projects on the list below.

Planned state obligations: 

  • US 97/S of Chelan Falls – Add Passing Lane (February 22 advertisement) $1.4 million additional obligation planned
  • Seven remaining cable barrier projects (February 16 and March 1 advertisements) $3 million obligation planned
  • An additional obligation of $0.45 million on the I-5/North Kelso to Castle Rock Stage 2 – Concrete project
  • Additional obligations to six Tier 3 projects. The first Tier 3 project, US 195/Idaho State Line to Colton, has been obligated.

Planned local obligations:

  • Bellingham – Bakerview & Hannegan/Woburn, (February obligation) $1.3 million planned
  • Cheney – BNSF & UPRR Pedestrian Crossing Improvement, (February obligation) $0.1 million planned
  • Battle Ground – Arterial Overlay, (February obligation) $0.4 million planned
  • Vancouver – 2010 Arterial Resurfacing, (February obligation) $2.5 million planned

Stimulus project employees have earned $51.9 million to date – Employees on state and local projects receiving Recovery Act highway funds worked over 132,000 hours and earned payroll totaling $5.3 million in December. To date, employees have worked over 1,360,000 hours on projects receiving stimulus funds. The full data set is available at WSDOT’s stimulus employment webpage. Due to winter weather and project completions this fall, payroll for the months of November and December have declined from a high in October, when employees worked 284,000 hours earning $10.9 million.

WSDOT advertised the Lewis & Clark Bridge project – On February 1, WSDOT advertised the contract for the SR 433 Lewis and Clark Bridge Painter. The project will paint the bridge’s steel truss to preserve the bridge’s superstructure and extend the life of the bridge. The project received $12.5 million in stimulus funds and is expected to begin construction later this year.

Major I-90 preservation project advertised – WSDOT advertised the contract for the I-90/Lake Easton Vic to Big Creek Br Vic EB – Replace/Rehab Concrete project on February 1. The project is receiving $18.5 million in Recovery Act funds. Construction is expected to begin this summer, and is planned for completion in fall 2011.

Skagit County’s ferry terminal project awarded – Skagit County awarded the contract for its Guemes Island Ferry Terminal project on January 11. The county received $750,000 in Recovery Act funds. The county won the grant through a national competition for $60 million in Recovery Act funds. 

Two Recovery Act projects completed –

Four local Recovery Act projects awarded –

Key issues: National

U.S. DOT Announces $8 billion for high speed rail – On January 27, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the recipients of $8 billion in new funding for High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail. The Recovery Act included $8 billion as part of a plan to jump start high speed rail service in the United States. Thirty-one states, including Washington and Oregon, received funding.

TIGER Grant awards expected soon – The U.S. Department of Transportation expected to announce $1.5 billion in Recovery Act awards through a competitive grant process soon. The Recovery Act required decisions to be announced by February 17, 2010, the anniversary of the law’s enactment. The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants for surface transportation improvements will award grants up to $300 million for major projects nationwide. The U.S. DOT received 1,380 applications seeking $56.5 billion. Washington governments submitted 49 applications totaling almost $1.66 billion, including three WSDOT applications seeking $482 million.

  • WSDOT submitted applications for the SR 520 Bridge Replacement ($300 million), the Columbia River Crossing ($147) million, and the North Spokane Corridor ($35 million).

Nearly 11,000 FHWA projects approved; $16 billion in projects under way – The Federal Highway Administration has obligated almost $23.8 billion to 10,978 projects as of January 29, or 86% of $26.8 billion in Recovery Act highway funds. Of those projects, 6,950, costing $16.8 billion are under way, and almost $6 billion has been spent as of January 29.

House T & I Committee plans one year progress report hearing on Recovery Act– On February 10, the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing to review the one-year progress report on Recovery Act transportation and infrastructure investments. It will be the full committee’s sixth review of stimulus project performance since the Recovery Act was signed into law in February 2009.

Stimulus project of the week

WSDOT to start construction on biggest federal recovery project in the Yakima Valley

It’s the biggest American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) project in the Yakima valley and construction is scheduled to begin sometime in the spring. WSDOT is reviewing bids submitted by contractors to rebuild the I-82 Valley Mall Boulevard interchange. This project will construct three roundabouts, a new northbound loop on-ramp, and better connections to the ten-mile Yakima Greenway bike/pedestrian pathway.

WSDOT and the contractor will reconfigure the Valley Mall Boulevard interchange to provide better, more direct access to and from I-82 and North Rudkin Road, and improve connections to the interstate for both Union Gap and Yakima. Three roundabouts are planned to circulate traffic more quickly and safely through this congested area.

The project will also reconstruct the intersection of Main Street and Valley Mall Boulevard for the City of Union Gap. This includes providing four lanes with left and right turn lanes, a bus pull-out, sidewalks, updates to the storm water drainage systems, street lights, and a traffic signal. WSDOT will set the timing of the updated traffic signal at Main Street and Valley Mall Boulevard to coordinate traffic flow with the new roundabouts.

Depending on weather conditions and the contractor’s schedule, construction on the project could begin as early as March. The project will take two construction seasons to complete, with an estimated completion date of fall 2011.

This is a crucial project for the Yakima valley that will encourage economic growth and development for the cities of Union Gap and Yakima.

The 2005 gas tax package originally was the major source of construction funding for this $35 million project, which includes the purchase of right of way and project design costs. Due to revenue shortfall, construction of this improvement was delayed six years. However, last spring the Governor and Legislature selected the project to receive $30.8 million in federal stimulus funding, providing the necessary dollars to deliver the project on its original schedule. 

Important dates

January 30: Latest Recovery Act data will be published at
February 10: House T & I Committee holds next Recovery Act hearing
February 17: Deadline for the U.S. Department of Transportation to announce TIGER grants and High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail awards
February 20: Next performance report due to T & I Committee
March 2: Deadline for obligating federal highway funds
April 10: Third quarterly performance report due to OMB

Websites of interest

WSDOT ARRA website:
Washington recovery website:
Federal recovery website:
FHWA recovery website:
Federal Transit Administration recovery website:
Federal Rail Administration recovery website:
Federal Aviation Administration recovery website:
OMB recovery website:

Last revised on April 11, 2014