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Kent adopts six-year Transportation Improvement Program

The Kent City Council adopted a six-year transportation improvement plan on Dec. 13 in an effort to draw funding for a variety of projects. - CHARLES CORTES, Kent Reporter file photo
The Kent City Council adopted a six-year transportation improvement plan on Dec. 13 in an effort to draw funding for a variety of projects.
— image credit: CHARLES CORTES, Kent Reporter file photo

The Kent City Council adopted Tuesday the city’s six-year Transportation Improvement Program for 2012 to 2017 for a variety of proposed projects.

The TIP is a state-mandated transportation planning document that lists Kent’s needed transportation projects and the expected revenue sources to pay for them, as well as those projects without complete funding, slated for as far out as six years, according to a city media release.

Steve Mullen, city transportation engineering manager, said for projects to receive state and federal money they must first be adopted in the six-year plan. Therefore, projects selected for the TIP must straddle a line of local need and the project’s ability to attract other money.

“What we do is look at projects and we try to choose the high priorities but also projects that are good grant funding candidates,” Mullen said.  “It’s more important than ever to look for grants given the decline in funding sources for transportation projects.”

Projects on the six-year program are generated from a larger list that was developed for the city’s Transportation Master Plan.

Mullen said the transportation plan is supposed to be an annual reality check when the city reconciles its current transportation needs with the available funding.

The total cost of the projects on the list is $159 million, a reduction of nearly $463 million compared to last year. The list includes 35 projects and programs ranging from street, bicycle, pedestrian, traffic signal and transit improvements to street maintenance and preservation projects.

According to Councilmember Debbie Raplee, the TIP incorporates recommendations by the Citizen Advisory Committee.

Raplee, who serves as Chair of the Public Works Committee said the group met 11 times during a four-month period last summer and fall.

“I appreciate the Citizen Advisory Committee working with staff to identify key priorities, as well as projects that can be deferred," Raplee said. "The revised list is very much in line with today’s economic reality.”

Composed of volunteers from the business community, the Citizen Advisory Committee will continue to review transportation issues as funding becomes available and projects move forward.

Projects on the list include:

• Intersection improvements to Smith Street and Lincoln Avenue

• Pedestrian safety improvements along Kent Kangley Road between 104th Avenue Southeast and 124th Avenue Southeast

• Southeast 256th Street widening from State Route 516 to 116th Avenue Southeast

• South 228th Street and Union Pacific railroad grade separation

• 76th Avenue South extension from South 200th Street to South 196th Street

• South 224th Street extension from 84th Avenue South to 104th Avenue Southeast

Details about the 2012-17 transportation program as well as the full project list are available at www.ci.kent.wa.us/transportation.

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