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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Pledge of funding from the State brings package for new South Park Bridge to halfway point

Summary

Governor Chris Gregoire today pledged $20 million from the state of Washington toward construction of a new South Park Bridge, bringing the funding package up to more than half of the $131 million needed to replace the 79-year-old span.

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South Park Bridge Governor Chris Gregoire today pledged $20 million from the state of Washington toward construction of a new South Park Bridge, bringing the funding package up to more than half of the $131 million needed to replace the 79-year-old span.

“The South Park Bridge is a critical piece of infrastructure for the region’s ability to move freight, but it’s also the primary physical and symbolic connection to one of King County’s most diverse and vibrant neighborhoods,” said Gov. Gregoire. “The efforts by the region to find a way to replace this aging bridge is an example of how government and the community can work together to make a difference. I’m proud that the state is going to be a part of this partnership with our $20 million commitment.”

The Governor spoke near the footings of the bridge on the Duwamish Waterway along with representatives from King County, the city of Seattle, the Port of Seattle, the Puget Sound Regional Council, and the South Park Bridge Coalition. King County Executive Dow Constantine has been working with governments and businesses to assemble the remainder of the funds needed to replace the bridge.

“I thank the state, the city, and the port for all stepping up and making significant contributions toward the replacement of this transportation lifeline for King County and the broader region,” said Executive Constantine. “This shows that regional cooperation and strong partnerships can create success where the old way of going it alone has failed.”

The bridge across the Duwamish is used by 20,000 vehicles each day but is scheduled to be closed permanently due to life-safety concerns at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 30.

The King County Council on Monday authorized the Executive to sell bonds to raise $30 million, representing the county’s share of construction costs.

“Today’s announcement from Governor Gregoire is another big win for South Park and for the region,” said County Councilmember Jan Drago, who represents the South Park and Georgetown areas. “Our chances of getting federal funding increase with every partner we get to pitch in, and this is proof positive that we’re on the winning track.”

“Securing funds for a new South Park Bridge is critical for this community and the region,” said King County Council Chair Bob Ferguson. “From a social justice and economic standpoint, we must make bridge replacement a reality.”

“Rebuilding the bridge is not cheap, but closing this bridge comes with a price tag as well,” said County Councilmember Julia Patterson. “Closure of the bridge is projected to more than double what it will cost for construction of a new bridge in lost benefits to the region. I want to thank all of the partners who have followed the County in investing in this critical project.”

On June 15, the Seattle City Council sent a letter of support to the County Executive pledging $15 million toward the project.

“The City Council is proud to be the first to accept this challenge and make a concrete commitment of $15 million,” said Council President Richard Conlin. “Regional collaboration is the best way we can maintain freight mobility, economic vitality and a robust transportation system that works for everyone.”

The Port of Seattle Commission yesterday expressed its intention to commit $5 million to the project, on top of its earlier contribution of $500,000 worth of property for the footings of the new bridge. Commission Vice President Gael Tarleton said the Port is pleased to contribute to the economic health of the Lower Duwamish communities.

"The businesses and residents of South Park are our neighbors, and the Port is committed to working with the community to address traffic congestion affecting their quality of life," said Tarleton.

The recent movement in support of bridge funding stems from Executive Constantine’s formation of a stakeholders group – the New South Park Bridge Coalition – that is co-chaired by Dagmar Cronn, president of the South Park Neighborhood Association, and Larry Brown, legislative and political action director for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO District 751.

The recent movement in support of bridge funding stems from Executive Constantine’s formation of a stakeholders group – the South Park Bridge Coalition – that is co-chaired by Dagmar Cronn, president of the South Park Neighborhood Association, and Larry Brown, legislative and political action director for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO District 751.

“On behalf of South Park, we are extremely grateful that King County has come together with all of our other regional leaders to make this funding package a reality,” said Dagmar Cronn, president of the South Park Neighborhood Association and co-chair of the New South Park Bridge Coalition. “We’ve come such a long way in such a short time, we are confident that the total package will come together in the near future.”

“It is gratifying to have a county executive who not only supported a new South Park Bridge but who was committed to making it happen,” said Larry Brown, legislative and political director for Aerospace Machinists Union 751. “I also thank the other local government officials who stood with us in these difficult budgetary times. They stepped up to support this coalition and to help get a new South Park Bridge.”

The Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) has provided funding for earlier stages of bridge planning and engineering. “On behalf of PSRC, I am excited to help fund this critical project transportation project for the benefit of the local community and the regional entities that depend on it,” said Bob Drewel, PSRC executive director.

Evidence of local funding is considered an essential element of King County’s planned application in August for a federal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant. Decisions on grants are made by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Secured pledges toward demolition of the old bridge and construction of a replacement now total $70 million:

  • King County: $30 million
  • State of Washington: $20 million
  • City of Seattle: $15 million
  • Port of Seattle: $ 5 million

Previous contributions for planning and design for the replacement bridge totaled $23 million:

  • King County road fund: $13.1 million
  • Puget Sound Regional Council: $ 8.6 million
  • City of Tukwila: $ 1.3 million (plus another $1.7M for maintenance)

Contributions of land for the right-of-way to build the replacement bridge have been worth $5.4 million:

  • Puget Sound Regional Council:  $2.7 million
  • The Boeing Company:  $1.8 million
  • Port of Seattle:  $500,000
  • King County road fund:  $400,000


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King County Executive
Dow Constantine
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