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Stimulus Newsletter March 24, 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.

March 24, 2010

The stimulus story this week

Washington State proposed five high-speed rail Recovery Act projects to the Federal Rail Administration. These projects are ready to be begin construction this year. In January, the state received approval to plan for $590 million in Recovery Act funding to improve rail service and increase travel speed and reliability between Seattle and Portland. The FRA is expected to review the proposed projects soon. Also this week, WSDOT continue to advance Recovery Act projects planned for construction this year. WSDOT advertised the $35 million North Spokane Corridor TIGER project on March 22 and the city of Battle Ground advertised its Arterial Overlay project on March 17. Three Tier 3 Recovery Act projects were awarded on March 23 for rehabilitation work on US 97 and SR 26.

This week by the numbers (project dollars in millions)

Individual highway projects





Total highway funds





Obligated funds

$340 (100%)

$152 (100%)

$492 (100%)

All funds were obligated by
March 2, 2010

Projects certified

47 (100%)

162 (100%)

209 (100%)

Three additional projects certified this month

Projects obligated1

47 (100%)

159 (98%)

206 (99%)

FHWA has approved funds for the projects

Project delivery to date

Operationally complete

21 (45%)

70 (43%)

91 (44%)

No new projects reported complete this edition



40 (85%)

148 (91%)

188 (90%)

Includes completed projects


47 (100%)

157 (96%)

204 (98%)

Includes completed and awarded projects

Certified, awaiting advertisment

0 (100%)

5 (3%)

5 (2%)

These projects
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

35 of 35

19 of 19

20 of 20

55 of 55
FTA counts all rural projects as one project

January employment





Payroll (in millions)



for January

Cumulatively, $57.5 million in payroll to date 
Average wage is $38 per hour




for January

Employees have worked 1,505,257 hours to date




for January

FTE = 173 hours per month




for January

Note: Not a count of unique employees

1 All projects were obligated on February 19, 2010, before the March 2, 2010 deadline. Three additional projects were certified on March 8 to receive unused Recovery Act funds due to low bids, and have not been obligated.
2 This includes one state project that has stimulus funding authorized for pre-construction and is currently under way. This includes one state project that has stimulus funding authorized for pre-construction and is currently under way.

Key issues: State

Washington State proposed five ready-to-build projects for High Speed Rail funds – Washington State is seeking approval to move forward on a list of projects funded by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail program. Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond sent a letter to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) proposing a specific list of five projects worth more than $311 million that could begin construction this year and be finished by 2011 or 2012. The letter also proposed five additional projects and the purchase of a new high speed train as part of WSDOT’s plan beyond this construction season. “The intent of the Recovery Act is to get people working, and we have remained focused on that goal,” said Gov. Chris Gregoire in a news release. “These investments will make it more convenient for travelers between Seattle and Portland as we improve speed, reliability and capacity on this rail line.” FRA still needs to concur with WSDOT’s proposed list, which could take place as soon as this week. The five projects proposed to begin construction this year are:

  • Tacoma – D to M Street Connection ($34.3 million, 179 estimated jobs)
  • Advanced Signal System – Positive Train Control ($62.3 million, 451 estimated jobs)
  • Tacoma – Point Defiance Bypass ($91.6 million, 597 estimated jobs)
  • Vancouver – Yard Bypass Track ($29.1 million, 158 estimated jobs)
  • Corridor Reliability Upgrades South ($94.1 million, 558 estimated jobs)

WSDOT advertised the North Spokane Corridor TIGER project – On March 22, WSDOT advertised US 395/NSC – Francis Ave. to Farwell Rd Southbound – New Alignment project, which received a $35 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant. This is one of two projects in Washington State receiving TIGER grants. On March 10, the city of Seattle advertised the South Lake Union Mercer Corridor Improvements project, which received a $30 million TIGER grant. Both projects are planned to begin construction this year.

Contract awarded for Tier 3 projects on US 97 and SR 26 – WSDOT awarded the contract for three Tier 3 chip seal projects in the North Central Region on March 23. The projects to place chip seal on US 97 from Okanogan to Riverside, on US 97 south of Pateros, and on SR 26 east of Royal City were awarded to Central Washington Asphalt, of Moses Lake, Washington.

Three cable median barrier projects awarded – Three cable median barrier projects funded by the Recovery Act were awarded on March 23. The projects will install new cable median barrier on I-90 near Cle Elum, on I-90 from Homestead Valley Rd to Tinkham Rd, and on US 12 from Low Rd to Naches River. The projects were awarded to Coral Construction Company of Wilsonville, Oregon. Under the $9 million cable median program, two projects have been completed, eight are awarded or under way, and three more have been advertised. This program installs or replaces cable median barriers in targeted locations throughout the state.

One local Recovery Act project advertised – The city of Battle Ground advertised the contract for its Arterial Overlay project on March 17. The project providing pavement overlays on N. Parkway Ave, NW 25th St. and SW 20th Ave is receiving about $400,000 in Recovery Act funds.

Key issues: National

Work is under way on 10,000 Recovery Act transportation projects nationwide – Vice President Joe Biden announced on March 18 that 10,000 projects receiving federal stimulus funds are under way or have been completed nationwide. The U.S. Department of Transportation said the projects have improved 33,000 miles of pavement, purchased nearly 12,000 buses, vans and rail vehicles, and provided other facility and maintenance benefits. “These 10,000 projects are strengthening our economy and creating jobs right now, and there are more projects still to come this spring,” LaHood said in a U.S. DOT news release.

FTA Administrator Rogoff provided a transit Recovery Act update – The Federal Transit Administration has awarded 881 grants totaling $7.5 billion in stimulus funds, Administrator Peter Rogoff said in congressional testimony Tuesday. “Investing in transit upgrades not only puts construction workers on the job at project sites, but supports American manufacturing jobs all the way down the supply chain,” Rogoff said in his written testimony.

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee holds Recovery Act Hearing – On March 26, the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a progress report hearing on Recovery Act highway, transit, and wastewater investments. This will be the committee’s first hearing since the U.S. Department of Transportation announced all highway and transit funds were obligated earlier this month. 

WSDOT blog is following congressional deliberations over transportation funding – The WSDOT Federal Transportation Issues blog is providing updates on the federal transportation funding act’s reauthorization in Washington, D.C.

Highlight of the week

Work on I-90 between Bellevue and Mercer Island is going strong thanks to federal stimulus funding

Have you noticed the strange markings or a rougher ride on parts of I-90? Ever wonder what the heck is going on out there? More than 55 workers from WSDOT and Interstate Improvement, Inc. are working to preserve and strengthen a three-mile section of Crews work to strengthen and preserve a three-mile section of I-90 between Bellevue Way and W. Mercer Way in King County.I-90 between Bellevue Way and W Mercer Way using a process called a dowel bar retrofit.

This $7.6 million portion of WSDOT and Sound Transit’s multistage I-90 Two-Way Transit and HOV Operations project is moving quickly thanks to federal stimulus funds.

The retrofit begins with cutting six slots across the joints that connect the concrete panels that make up I-90’s surface. Crews then remove the concrete between the saw cuts and insert epoxy-coated dowel bars before sealing them with grout. Finally, they grind the roadway to remove excess grout, bumps or dips and repaint the stripes.

When this part of the project is complete later this spring, drivers on I-90 will enjoy a smoother, safer ride. The work will also strengthen the roadway and extend its life under heavy traffic and freight trucks.

All three stages of the $187.6 million project are scheduled to be complete in 2014. Interstate 90 will have around-the-clock high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes in both directions between Bellevue and Seattle and improved HOV access on Mercer Island and in Bellevue. 

Important dates

March 26: House T & I Committee holds next Recovery Act hearing
April 10: Third quarterly performance report due to OMB
April 20: Next performance report due to House T & I Committee

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