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M'ville transportation projects waiting for funding

MARYSVILLE – Like many of us, the city of Marysville has a list of things it would like to do, and another list of what it can afford to do.

Unfortunately, those lists often don't connect. Such is the case with transportation.

The city would love to have a new entry point that avoids the Burlington Northern-Sante Fe mainline that runs through town. A Highway 529/Interstate 5 interchange south of town would construct new northbound and southbound on- and off-ramps. While $5 million has been designated for the project it will take much more in the way of state and federal grants for that to become a reality.

"It's high on the priority list but not funded," city engineer John Cowling said.

Cowling talked about the Six-year Transportation Improvement Program at the City Council meeting June 23.

The second project on the list is the 156th Street NE interchange. That also would avoid the BNSF mainline, and provide new access to Lakewood. A bridge has been built there, but finishing the project would turn it into a full interchange.

The third project, which has been on the list for a few years, is adding more lanes under I-5 at Highway 528.

"We're doing what can be done considering our funding constraints," Cowling said.

The city receives an update on the TIP mid-year every year as projects are completed and needs change. This year's plan is set to spend $34 million, with the largest chunk coming from the Tulalip Tribes of $10 million for the 116th Interchange. The estimated costs over the next six years is $250 million.

Top projects completed include the signal at Highway 528 and 53rd and the roundabout at Highway 9 and 84th. Top new projects include a signal at Highway 528 and 76th, shoulder and sidewalk improvements, and pedestrian and bicycle improvements from Cedar to State.

Meanwhile, Mayor Jon Nehring talked about his recent conference with Associated Washington Cities. They discussed efforts to activate citizens on behalf of cities when it comes to working with state government because "we can't spent campaign dollars." With a gap in state funding next year the AWC is concerned the state will cut funds to cities. Citizens could help pressure the legislature not to cut those funds.

Also, the council talked about working with other communities and agencies regarding railroad traffic woes.

"We'd have more power" if we did this from a statewide stance, rather than our own, Nehring said. "Everyone knows about Marysville's plight."

The group also allowed for Stanwood to join efforts in Affordable Housing for Snohomish County and for a study to be done on options to go over and under the railroad tracks.

Board members also talked about more city news being shown on Channel 21, to the point that a cable TV committee might need to be formed, and a city Gateway sign will be put up soon on Highway 528 near Wal-Mart.

The council also:

• OK'd Seattle Goodwill Industries to have volunteers clean up Jennings Park and local streams from July 28 to Aug. 14.

• Honored Sam Day, a 15-year city employee, for his service. He works in the sanitation department.

* Honored Tara Mizell for 20 years of service. With 60,000 people in the city, 27,000 are involved in city recreation programs. She also was behind an effort to help city workers in Arlington and Darrington after the deadly Oso mudslide.

• Honored Renae James for her work with Soroptomists. She has been president three of the seven years she has been with the group.

She is also involved with the chamber, Relay for Life, food drive, coat drive and more.

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