By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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City Council members approved the five-year plan 4-0 Tuesday night after the second of two public hearings held on the plan.
Deputy Mayor Patrick Downie and council members Dan Gase and Cherie Kidd were absent and excused from the meeting; they were attending the Association of Washington Cities' annual conference in Spokane.
Craig Fulton, city public works and utilities director, told council members all Washington cities are required to file a five-year transportation improvement plan with the state annually.
“If no transportation improvement plan was submitted, there would be no opportunity to request state assistance,” he said.
For 2015, the plan includes about $900,000 for design of proposed improvements to the east side of Railroad Avenue, continuation of the Waterfront Trail from the esplanade to the west and improvements to Hollywood Beach, Fulton said.
Nathan West, the city's community and economic development director, said the city recently submitted applications for two state Recreation and Conservation Office grants worth $900,000 for the design costs.
He expects to hear whether the city gets the grants in September or October.
Other items listed for 2015 include repair of a retaining wall near the Puget Sound Pilots building on Ediz Hook — through a $225,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency grant — and $27,500 for design of improvements to the stairs behind the Conrad Dyar Memorial Fountain.
In total, the city has included $6.8 million worth of projects for 2015 through 2020 in its transportation plan.
Fulton said funding would come from a combination of city money and state and federal grants.
Work in the five-year plan includes street chip-sealing projects, design and work on a trail loop in the Valley Creek area, and paving or repairing various city alleys.
City resident Cindy Turney told council members Tuesday she didn't think everything on the plan needed to be a priority.
“I wouldn't pave the alleys. Fill the potholes, but I can't imagine paving alleys,” she said.
The transportation improvement plan also includes $59.8 million worth of projects for which no funding has been identified, Fulton said.
Projects in this category, particularly large-scale street repairs, could be funded through a transportation benefit district that could impose car tab fees for city residents or, with voter approval, a city sales tax increase, Fulton said.
Council members Tuesday did not discuss a potential transportation benefit district, which would require more than one council vote and at least a public hearing to implement.
Fulton said city staff expect to present more detail on a possible benefit district with council members at a work session in late July or August.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.