PRESS WASHINGTON, D.C.—Key Pacific Northwest transportation and environmental projects are in jeopardy under President Trump’s proposed budget – including Sound Transit’s plans to provide light rail service to Lynnwood and Federal Way, areas facing some of the worst congestion in Washington state.
$1.1 billion in funds currently set aside for the Lynnwood Link Extension as well as $500 million for the Federal Way extension would be eliminated under Trump’s budget blueprint as part of changes to the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grant Program.
“In the Pacific Northwest transportation means jobs, and a healthy American economy cannot exist without the efficient movement of goods and people,” said Larsen, a senior Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “The President is taking a sledgehammer to America’s infrastructure, something that is particularly baffling in light of last weeks’ report from the American Society of Engineers which showed that U.S. infrastructure is on life support. When considered with the deep cuts to environmental protection, labor and diplomacy – the President’s budget is a disgrace.”
The President’s budget also entirely eradicates the popular Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program. The TIGER program has boosted key projects in Washington’s 2nd District. In July of 2016, Larsen announced that the Port of Everett was awarded a $10,000,000 competitive grant through the TIGER program to help complete the South Terminal Modernization Project. Once complete, the project will provide for the better transfer of intermodal cargo and add on-dock rail capacity to handle heavier freight loads. In 2015, the Mukilteo Multimodal Ferry Terminal project received $10 million through the TIGER program after Larsen wrote a letter of support. This project is critical to increase the efficiency and capacity of the ferry terminal, and will provide a safer loading center for pedestrians and bike-users.
Under President Trump’s budget, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funding for Puget Sound would be reduced by more than 90 percent and funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would be cut by nearly 20 percent. Nationally, nearly one third of the EPA’s budget would be on the chopping block in addition to 3,200 EPA jobs.
Between 2010-2015, the EPA provided 52 grants for Puget Sound recovery and restoration projects, including:
· Phase I of the Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project Selection and Design – $426,597
o Significant ecosystem problems were identified, large-scale and system-wide solutions were evaluated to restore critical nearshore processes and habitats, including bluffs, beaches, shorelines, mudflats, salt marshes, gravel spits and estuaries.
· Chico Creek Estuary Restoration Project – $600,000
o Fish passage blockages were removed, 2.3 acres of salt marsh and 1.1 acres of nearshore uplands were conserved and 1.1 acres of estuarine and riparian habitat were restored.
· Kitsap Regional Shoreline Restoration Project – $763,200
o Kitsap County worked with landowners to remove bulkheads which restored natural sediment supplies to priority nearshore areas.
· Piper's Creek Flow Control Plan – $850,904
o Seattle Public Utilities established a stormwater flow control plan for the Piper's Creek watershed using hydrologic modeling and green stormwater infrastructure techniques.