$34 million down, zero to go

At 2:30 this afternoon, Mayor Mike McGinn, Senator Patty Murray, King County Executive Dow Constantine and many other community members, politicians and neighbors gathered in anticipation for what everyone hoped would be good news about the bridge. And good news it was indeed – Senator Murray announced that the remaining $34 million needed to complete the new bridge will be funded by a federal TIGER II grant. Now the project can go out to bid, with a completion date slated for late 2013.  According to King County Executive Constantine’s press release, “the federal grant clears the way for construction of a new South Park Bridge, which is estimated to cost about $131 million.”

He continues: “Senator Murray has been steadfast in her support of the South Park community and the entire Duwamish industrial valley, and today her leadership is making a real difference in the lives and livelihood of these residents and businesses,” said Executive Constantine. “Just a few months ago, some thought this was an impossible task. But we said we would rebuild the South Park Bridge. We said we would work together to secure the funds. We said we would keep this hard-working neighborhood in business. And today, thanks to the leadership and tenacity of our senior senator from Washington State – we did it.”

You can watch Senator Murray give the announcement (and hear the roar of applause from the crowd) here:

Senator Murray says: “It’s a community that deserves a victory…and to have it’s voice heard.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible – a happy day in South Park indeed.

South Park bridge update

Reposted from Blogging Georgetown

Wednesday, February 17, 2010
South Park Bridge replacement: no federal funds, but…

Last October, an application was made for federal stimulus funds to replace the South Park Bridge, which is in even bigger danger of failure then the famed Alaska Way Viaduct. Says the PI blog:

On Wednesday, Sen. Patty Murray’s office announced a $30 million stimulus grant to the Mercer Corridor Project….

But, in my usual style, I have to call bullshit here:

“This funding is a critical piece of the puzzle for a project that is central to the economy of our state and the Puget Sound region,” Murray said in a statement. “Rebuilding the Mercer Corridor is going to create direct construction jobs, improve port and highway access, and reduce commute times in an area that contains some our most vital employers.”

Question for Senator Murray: how much breakbulk and and container traffic moves in and out of the Port via Mercer Street? We already know the answer: zero. That traffic is routed through SoDo or the Spokane Street Viaduct. Considering that Murray has a long standing relationship with a major marine terminal operator in the form of campaign contributions, and is married to an executive who works for one of the major marine terminal operators, it’s quite surprising that she would make such a statement that obviously isn’t true.

But then we would have to discuss the real reason for the Mercer project, which more or less is about propping up a failed condo market in South Lake Union, and propping up an industry (Biotech) that can’t seem to make much of a profit. And who can forget the last of the causalities of that neighborhood makeover.

Still, I haven’t said much about the South Park Bridge in particular, because a lot has been said already (here, here, and here). But one thing is for certain, and I’ve mentioned this a while back: stumbling bumbling mayor McGinn could step in and demand action via a proposed levy. He “supported the application” for the federal funds, and this was supposed to be a reason as to why people in the Duwamish area were supposed to vote for the guy. Now is his chance to make good on the promise. A no brainier. A soft-pitched softball. All he’d have to do is re-include the sliver by the river in the White Center annexation.

He might need encouragement. If you want to encourage him, click here.