(The Center Square) — The Spokane Valley Council will be asked Tuesday by Bill Helbig, director of community and public works, to submit more than $12 million in requests for federal funding for infrastructure improvements to the delegation of the Washington Congress.
Based on the 2022 federal budget process, Helbig noted in a staff report that funding grants typically range from $1 million to $5 million. With that in mind, he wants to keep Spokane Valley’s applications for 2023 within those perimeters.
If received, the money will be used for four major projects that not only increase public safety, but are expected to spur economic development.
Spokane Valley seeks to maintain traffic flow and improve access to commercial and industrial land during a period of rapid growth. To that end, US Senator Patty Murray, D-Bothell, recently announced that $3 million is being directed to the Spokane Valley for Barker Road Corridor projects.
North Barker Road is heavily traveled by industrial and commercial vehicles using Interstate 90 and State Route 290 (Trent Avenue) to transport goods between Idaho, Canada and the greater Pacific Northwest.
Helbig noted in his report for the March 29 meeting that Murray does not limit the number of projects an agency can submit for funding in 2023, or request amounts.
These applications must be submitted by April 5 and do not require any local matching funds.
Helbig also noted that U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, has issued a call for applications for community projects. Applications must be limited to $5 million, are due April 15, and also do not require matching funds.
Although Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Edmonds, has not yet issued a request for proposals for funding, it is expected to do so in the coming weeks, according to Helbig.
He is asking council to approve a request for federal funding of $5 million for the Pines Road/Burlington Northern Santa Fe Grade Separation Project. The total cost of this work is estimated at $34 million and the city was awarded $9.7 million to date.
The city wants to remove a transcontinental railroad crossing at Pines Road, one of its busiest streets. The project includes the construction of an underpass and a new roundabout, among other works.
Eliminating the railroad crossing adjacent to the intersection of Pines Road and Trent Avenue that serves 35,000 vehicles a day is critical to vehicular and pedestrian safety, city officials said.
Completion of the project is expected to improve access to 170 acres of nearby mixed-use or commercially zoned properties, and 56 acres of prime industrial land that is currently undeveloped.
Helbig recommends asking the federal authorities to provide $2.54 million for the Bigelow-Sullivan corridor: Sullivan/Trent interchange. No funding has yet been secured for the $26.6 million project.
The corridor has a history of fatal accidents due to congestion, lack of passing lanes, poor sightlines, steep grades, tight turns, and a poorly operated interchange on State Route 290.
The solution, city officials say, is to rebuild the narrow passage from two to four lanes, install cameras and signs, and rebuild the SR 290 interchange.
Once completed, the corridor could be a safe alternate route to Interstate 90 and connect to more than 1,100 acres of the region’s largest industrial centers.
Helbig wants the city to seek an additional $2 million in federal funds for the South Barker Corridor project which carries a price tag of $18.8 million. To date, $8.9 million has been secured.
The city wants to rebuild the intersection of South Barker Road and Sprague Avenue with a single lane roundabout. The city also wants to widen and improve the corridor to create a five-lane urban roadway section from I-90 to Appleway Avenue.
Completion of this work would provide better access to more than 800 acres of industrial property and 220 acres of homes.
Last on Helbig’s list for federal funding next year is $3 million for the Spokane Valley River Loop Trail project. The total cost of this work is estimated at $16.5 million and $1.75 million has been secured.
The city’s plan is to build a non-motorized paved pathway along the north bank of the river that connects the Plante’s Ferry Sports Complex to the city property on Flora Road. Two pedestrian bridges will be installed, connected to the Sentier du Centenaire.
The project aims to provide recreational opportunities for residents and entice visitors to kayak, raft and enjoy the scenic surroundings.
Spokane Valley Mayor Pam Haley and other council members recently told McMorris Rodgers during her visit to City Hall that rapid population and business growth is forcing officials to scramble to maintain smooth traffic.
The city was recently ranked in a SmartAsset data study as 31st on a list of the fastest growing cities in the United States. Spokane Valley’s population is now about 100,000, according to the US Census Bureau.