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Stimulus Newsletter March 3, 2011

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 3, 2011

This week's stimulus update 

Agreements secure $590 million in federal passenger rail funding for Washington state The Washington State Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration signed an agreement that secures $590 million in federal stimulus money to improve the Amtrak Cascades rail corridor from Portland to Seattle, Gov. Chris Gregoire announced on February 26. The agreement commits the FRA to allocate Recovery Act funds that were first awarded in January 2010.

Separately, Amtrak, BNSF Railway and WSDOT signed an agreement that outlines how rail investments will be made based on service outcomes and passenger rail performance benchmarks on rail lines shared by freight and passenger rail, such as on-time performance, faster travel times and frequency of service.

As a result of the $590 million in Recovery Act high-speed-rail funding:

  • Two additional daily Amtrak Cascades round trips will be added between Seattle and Portland, for a total six, by 2017.
  • On-time reliability is expected to increase from 62 to 88 percent.
  • More consistent speeds will be possible throughout the corridor, resulting in faster travel times between Seattle and Portland.
  • Major construction projects will be completed that will include building bypass tracks to allow for increased train frequency and multiple upgrades to existing track.
  • Several safety-related projects will be completed, including grade separations and the latest technology in advanced-warning signal systems. This will reduce passenger/freight congestion, making passenger travel times shorter with more reliable on-time service.

“This is another great development for our state in that this rail work will generate thousands of highly skilled construction and operating jobs and result in important improvements in rail passenger service,” Gregoire said. “It’s especially exciting following the Pentagon’s selection of Boeing to build the next generation of Air Force tankers, which also will bring thousands of jobs to Washington.”

Another recent press release expressed Washington’s interest in additional High Speed Rail funds that Florida rejected in February. Last year, Washington was awarded up to $161.5 million in Recovery Act funds redirected from Ohio and Wisconsin.

Recently completed projects:
Grandview – Downtown Improvements

Highway stimulus delivery (dollars in millions)

Highway projects




Project Delivery

Operationally complete

42 (82%)

148 (88%)

190 (87%)

Awarded/under way

51 (100%)

168 (100%)

219 (100%)


51 (100%)

168 (100%)

219 (100%)





Spending Update

Funding allocated




Amount expended

$270.9 (80%)

$139.9 (93%)

$410.8 (84%)

 Two completed safety programs are now counted as projects.
The Recovery Act highway project list has updated project status.

Construction continues on the Grant Transit Authority maintenance facility in Moses Lake.

Construction continues on Grant Transit Authority maintenance facility in Moses Lake –
Work is underway in Moses Lake as crews build the new Grant Transit Authority maintenance facility and administration building. The project, which received part of the state’s $14 million in Recovery Act funds for rural transit capital improvements, is expected to be completed this spring.

Transportation funding news online –
The WSDOT Federal Transportation Issues blog is following the latest news out of Washington, D.C., and what it means for Washington state projects. Check regularly for updates on the Highway Trust Fund and the 2011 federal budget.

Recovery Act employment update: 

December Data



December Total


Payroll (in millions)



$3.5 million

$152.7 million to date

Labor hours




3.9 million to date

Monthly FTEs
(173 hours per monthly FTE)




1,883 yearly FTEs to date (2080 hours per FTE)





Note: Not a count of unique employees

Note: Includes all labor on projects receiving Recovery Act Federal Highway Administration funds.

Last revised on April 11, 2014