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Stimulus Newsletter June 2, 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.

June 2, 2010

This week's stimulus snapshotCrews replaced deteriorating concrete panels on a section of I-90 between Lake Easton and Bullfrog Road in Kittitas County. This photo from last August shows construction underway. The lanes opened to traffic on May 27 and the final project work is under way.

  • Tiger II grant criteria announced 
  • I-90 project near Lake Easton wrapping up 
  • Two more local projects completed 
  • Two WSDOT rumble strip projects completed in Eastern Washington 
  • New GAO Recovery Act review released 
  • Important stimulus dates 
  • Useful Recovery Act web links 
  • Stimulus data table update

Secretary LaHood announced the criteria for $600 million TIGER II grant program – On May 28, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood officially announced the criteria for the $600 million competitive grant program to fund discretionary transportation projects nationwide. The program designed to provide capital investment for major transportation projects was modeled after the $1.5 billion TIGER grants in the Recovery Act. State and local governments submitted nearly 1,400 applications for TIGER grants last year. Pre-applications are due July 16 and full applications are due August 23. WSDOT’s Federal Transportation Issues blog has more information and links on TIGER II.

Two more local Recovery Act highway projects completed –

Two Eastern Region rumble strip projects completed – Crews completed work on two Eastern Region centerline rumble strip projects last month. On May 12, the projects on US 195 from Steptoe to SR 271 and on SR 902 from Medical Lake to I-90 were completed. WSDOT has now completed 17 of the 28 certified centerline rumble strip projects that received $3 million in Recovery Act funds. The project page has more information about the statewide program designed to reduced cross-over collisions. Vibrations alert drivers as they cross into oncoming traffic.

GAO released latest review of Recovery Act project delivery, recommends performance measures for stimulus benefits – The Government released the latest in its series of reports on Recovery Act implementation on May 26. The 344-page report is available at the GAO Recovery website. The review focused on the obligation of funding to projects and said that the distribution to economically disadvantaged areas was overstated. Among its recommendations, “GAO recommends that DOT determine the types of data, performance measures, and authority needed to collect data and report on whether these investments produced long-term benefits,” the report said. The report focused on a review of 16 states and the District of Columbia.

Highlight of the week

Improved I-90 lanes near Easton opened in time for Memorial Day

WSDOT and construction crews have finished replacing the deteriorated concrete pavement on westbound I-90 between Easton (milepost 70) and Nelson Siding Road (milepost 74) as part of $18.8 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-funded I-90 Lake Easton to Bullfrog project. All four lanes of I-90 are now open to traffic, just in time for Memorial Day weekend travel.

“We resumed work on the Lake Easton to Bullfrog project in early spring to complete the concrete replacement by Memorial Day weekend, which also kicks off the busy summertime travel season,” said Will Smith, Project Engineer. “WSDOT and our contractor crews worked nearly around the clock and through unseasonable weather, including a snowstorm in May, to get this work done. A combination of careful planning, hard work, and a break in the weather gave us a great window to complete the concrete work and meet our goal.”

WSDOT and its contractor Gary Merlino Construction Co. (Seattle) started construction on the eight-mile project in September 2009. Crews rehabilitated approximately five miles of deteriorating concrete of the right-hand lane and asphalt shoulders of westbound I-90 before winter began. Crews began construction on the final three project miles in March. This two-season project allowed WSDOT and crews to restore the structural integrity of the roadway, extend the service life of the pavement, and provide motorists with a smoother, quieter driving surface. The Lake Easton to Bullfrog project supported over 130 jobs at Gary Merlino and several other jobs at eight sub-contractors from across the Pacific Northwest.

“I know it hasn’t been easy for the public to plan extra time during their trips across the pass during the two seasons of this project,” said Smith. “I’d like to thank drivers, especially weekend drivers, of I-90 east of Snoqualmie Pass for their patience while we worked to strengthen and preserve this vital east-west transportation corridor.”

Crews still need to put the finishing touches on the project such as removing barrier, sealing joints, permanent striping and other basic safety features. The remaining upgrades should not impact traffic.

Important dates

June 4: FRA holds National Rail Plan meeting in Portland
July 10: Next performance report due to Office of Management and Budget
July 16: TIGER II pre-application deadline 
August 11: Transit application deadline for TIGGER grants 
August 23: Final TIGER II application deadline
September 30: Deadline for obligating Recovery Act highway funds

Websites of interest

WSDOT ARRA website:
WSDOT Federal Transportation Issues blog:
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:

This week by the numbers (project dollars in millions)

Individual highway projects





Operationally complete

23 (49%)

92 (56%)

115 (54%)

Two additional projects completed this edition 

Awarded/under way1

45 (96%)

155 (94%)

200 (94%)

Includes completed projects


47 (100%)

155 (94%)

202 (95%)

Includes completed and awarded projects

Certified, awaiting advertisement

0 (0%)

10 (5%)

10 (5%)

These projects are planned for upcoming advertisement

Total highway funds





Obligated funds2

$340 (100%)

$152 (100%)

$492 (100%)

All funds were obligated by
March 2, 2010

Projects certified

47 (100%)

165 (100%)

212 (100%)

Five additional projects certified 
in May

Projects obligated2

47 (100%)

157 (95%)

204 (96%)

FHWA has approved funds for the projects

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

35 of 35

19 of 19

20 of 20

55 of 55
FTA counts all rural projects as one project

April employment





Payroll (in millions)



for April

Cumulatively, $79.6 million to date 
Average wage is $38 per hour




for April

Employees have worked 2,061,328 hours to date




for April

FTE = 173 hours per month




for April

Note: Not a count of unique employees

This includes one state project that has stimulus funding authorized for pre-construction and is currently under way. 
2 All funds were obligated by the March 2, 2010 deadline as required by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. As projects develop, obligation totals will fluctuate as funds are deobligated due to low bids or savings are realized on project closeouts. Unobligated ARRA balances available to the Highway Construction Program will be used to fund Tier 3 projects. Local ARRA balances will be made available to three additional local projects which were certified on March 8. After September 30, 2010, ARRA funds may not be re-obligated and any balances will be turned over to FHWA for distribution back to the states for project cost increases. 

Last revised on April 11, 2014