Hoquiam native performs for U.S. President Barack Obama in Belgium

Hoquiam native Kim Lively recently performed for President Barack Obama in Belgium. The singer with the SHAPE International Band tells us the White House asked for her by name to sing the Belgian and US national anthems for Obama, King Filip and Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo during a ceremony at the Flanders Field American Cemetery in Waregem to honor US servicemen who gave their lives in Belgium during World War I.

Kim Lively said this morning "It was one of the greatest honors of my life, performing for the President today."
Kim Lively said this morning “It was one of the greatest honors of my life, performing for the President today.”

 

Lively said from Belgium this morning “I’ve been involved with grave site Memorial Day ceremonies here, honoring American veterans buried in Belgian cemeteries.” She said she is often asked to sing in different languages, adding “The U.S. Embassy to Belgium was involved with these ceremonies, and had heard me sing the Belgian national anthem in both Flemish and French (two of Belgium’s official languages). So when it came time to finalize the protocols for this event, my name came up.”

She said today, they asked her to sing the first half of the anthem in Flemish, and the second half in French. adding “It was one of the greatest honors of my life, performing for the President today.”

View the video here: http://www.deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws.english/videozone_ENG/140326_anthems

QIN: Advising the new White House Council on Native American Affairs

According to President Sharp, the economic disaster of the last five and-a-half years has profoundly undermined many tribal businesses across the country, and the sequestration of federal funding resulting from the federal Budget Control Act will result in an economic disaster among many tribes, creating profound desperation in Indian Country in 2014 and 2015.

The White House Council should meet with each tribal government in the country. The purpose of these meetings would be to establish a dialogue with each tribal government to resolve the “disconnect and disparity between federal efforts to meet the needs of Indian Country and the actual on-the-ground needs.”

The Quinault government further urged formulation of federal agency policies based on “understanding current population characteristics, population growth data and the tribal economic environment.” President Sharp specifically urged the White House Council to share census and economic findings with each tribal government to ensure that tribal officials receive information to ensure their “free, prior and informed consent” to decisions that are made.

President Sharp specifically urged establishing funding levels on the basis of “qualified and quantified actual need” through a process of interagency cooperation, intergovernmental cooperation between tribal, state and federal governments, incentives to encourage public-private partnerships and expansion of tribal self-determination. The White House Council should document and assess “tribal government and community needs in terms of types of community needs quantified in terms of financial requirements for the next year and for the next three years,” said Sharp.

To strengthen the government-to-government relationship the Quinault statement to the White House Council called for the designation of representatives from the Department of State, Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce joined by President Obama’s Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs and Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs to enter into a dialogue with a Tribal Government Contact Group to discuss and negotiate a “framework for intergovernmental relations between tribal and federal governments.” The White House Council was also urged to recommend to President Obama the designation of a Special Counsel with the “authority of the President” to negotiate settlement of intergovernmental disputes between Indian nations and the United States government.

Clearly, my government welcomes the opportunity to offer concrete comments and recommendations to the White House Council on Native American Affairs as we enter another milestone in President Barack Obama’s commitment to strengthen the government-to-government relationship with Tribal Nations, said Sharp.

The new White House Council was established in a June 26, 2013 executive order by President Obama to improve coordination of federal programs and the use of resources available to tribal communities. It is chaired by the Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, and is comprised of the heads of numerous federal executive departments and agencies. The council conducted a nationwide conference call Tuesday to help determine its mission and future activities, intended to strengthen the nation-to-nation relationship and facilitate the efficient delivery of government services.

If this new White House Council follows the right path, gets out of Washington D.C., works with the tribal nations on a true government-to-government basis and follows through on the need to work with us to find true solutions to our economic crises, we can and will make progress toward a better tomorrow,” said Sharp.

Clean Out That Medicine Cabinet, The Right Way

The Drug Enforcement Administration and government, community, public health and law enforcement partners today announced a nationwide prescription drug “Take-Back” initiative that seeks to prevent increased pill abuse and theft.  DEA will be collecting potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction at sites nationwide on Saturday, September 25th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time.  The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

 

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are increasing at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.  Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – both potential safety and health hazards.

 

“Today we are launching a first-ever National Prescription Drug Take-Back campaign that will provide a safe way for Americans to dispose of their unwanted prescription drugs,” said Michele M. Leonhart, Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “This effort symbolizes DEA’s commitment to halting the disturbing rise in addiction caused by their misuse and abuse.  Working together with our state and local partners, the medical community, anti-drug coalitions, and a concerned public, we will eliminate a major source of abused prescription drugs, and reduce the hazard they pose to our families and communities in a safe, legal, and environmentally sound way.”

“With this National Prescription Drug Take-Back campaign, we are aggressively reaching out to individuals to encourage them to rid their households of unused prescription drugs that pose a safety hazard and can contribute to prescription drug abuse,” said Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary G. Grindler.  “The Department of Justice is committed to doing everything we can to make our communities safer, and this initiative represents a new front in our efforts.”

“Prescription drug abuse is the Nation’s fastest-growing drug problem, and take-back events like this one are an indispensable tool for reducing the threat that the diversion and abuse of these drugs pose to public health,” said Director of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske. “The Federal/state/and local collaboration represented in this initiative is key in our national efforts to reduce pharmaceutical drug diversion and abuse.”

 

Collection sites in every local community can be found by going to www.dea.gov.  This site will be continuously updated with new take-back locations.  Other participants in this initiative include the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; the Partnership for a Drug-Free America; the International Association of Chiefs of Police; the National Association of Attorneys General; the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy; the Federation of State Medical Boards; and the National District Attorneys Association.

WSDOT Runs Down Stimulus News

This week by the numbers (project dollars in millions)

Individual highway projects

State

Local

Total

Notes

Total funds

$340

$152

$492

 

Obligated funds1

$267 (77%)

$142.6 (94%)

$409.6 (83%)

All funds must be obligated by March 2, 2010

Projects certified

40 (100%)

156 (100%)

196 (100%)

Four new individual projects certified on November 13

Projects obligated

39 (98%)

143 (90%)

182 (93%)

FHWA has obligated some or all funds for the projects

Project delivery to date

Operationally complete

20 (50%)

64 (41%)

84 (43%)

Six projects reported complete this week

Awarded/
under way2 

32 (80%)

135 (87%)

167 (85%)

Includes completed projects

Advertised

36 (90%)

142 (91%)

178 (91%)

Includes completed and awarded projects

Certified, awaiting advertisment

3 (8%)

14 (11%)

17 (9%)

These projects, including several receiving surplus funds, are planned for upcoming advertisement.

Safety funding buckets ($12 stimulus)

Rumble
Strips

Cable
median
barrier

Total

Notes

Completed

15

2

17

State stimulus funds only

Awarded

17

7

24

Includes completed projects

Advertised 

26

7

33

Includes completed and awarded projects

Transit projects

Large
urban

Small
urban

Nonurban/
rural

State total

Percent of total $179 awarded

97%

97%

100%

98%
Includes Washington State Ferries projects

Number of Transit projects obligated

33 of 35

18 of 19

20 of 20

52 of 55
FTA counts all rural projects as one project

October employment

State

Local

Total

Notes

Payroll

$4.4

$6.5

$10.9
for October

Cumulatively, $40 million in payroll to date  Average wage is $37 per hour

Hours

109,584

174,608

284,192
for October

Employees have worked 1,061,000 hours to date

FTEs

634

1,009

1,643
for October

FTE = 173 hours per month

Employees

2,023

4,377

6,400
for October

Note: Not a count of unique employees

1$4M in state enhancement funds provided to locals. While WSDOT controls $340M, the total for obligation authority is $344M, which is the basis of the percentages in this table, and basis for USDOT review on 3/02/2010.
2This includes one state project that has stimulus funding authorized for pre-construction and is currently under way.

 

Key issues: State

Third tier Recovery Act projects come on line thanks to competitive bid climate – Lower construction bids have generated enough savings to allow the Washington State Department of Transportation to build seven more highway projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act than first expected.  The December 16 news release has more information. The seven new projects will receive $12.3 million in stimulus funds.

  • US 195/Idaho State Line to Colton – Paving ($2,600,000)
  • SR 503/1mi East of Rock Creek Bridge to Frederickson Rd – Paving ($3,440,000)
  • SR 14/I-5 to SE 164th Ave. Interchange – Paving ($2,160,000)
  • US 97/Orondo Northward – Paving – Chip Seal ($1,120,000)
  • US 97/Okanogan to Riverside – Chip Seal ($1,440,000)
  • US 97/Pateros South – Chip Seal ($560,000)
  • SR 26/Royal City East – Chip Seal ($960,000)

Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond attended White House Jobs Forum – The December 3 White House Jobs and Economic Growth Forum included a session on infrastructure investment as part of the nation’s economic and employment recovery efforts. Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond presented the case for increased federal infrastructure funding to President Obama and suggested the White House should expand the Recovery Act TIGER grant program to include more money. The $1.5 billion stimulus grant program attracted nearly 1,400 applications seeking over $56 billion. She was one of 150 guests invited to the summit to provide ideas for job creation.

  • The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to begin debating a jobs bill authorizing $37.3 billion for transportation on December 16. The WSDOT federal funding blog has more information.

Recovery Act funds provide three new Grape Line buses – Three new buses funded by federal stimulus dollars for the Grape Line have arrived and soon will begin carrying passengers between Walla Walla and Pasco. The new buses are the latest fruits from $1.9 million in Recovery Act funds for the Travel Washington Intercity Bus Program.

Crews are building new SR 501 bridge over I-5 in Clark County – Stage one of the I-5, SR 501 Ridgefield Interchange project is well under way. Crews are starting to drill large shafts deep into the middle of the interstate that will anchor the new SR 501 bridge. Once finished with the shafts in the median, crews will begin working on another set of shafts that will support the bridge abutments on each side of the interstate. Drilling shafts is the first step in the process of building the bridge.

  • The project, initially certified for $10 million in Recovery Act funds, is now expected to use only $8.2 million due to a low successful bid.
  • The interchange is scheduled to be complete in late 2011 or early 2012.

Tier 2 stimulus project awarded – The City of Monroe awarded the contract for intersection improvements on US 2 at Chain Lake Road at N. Lewis Street. The project received $2.95 million in Recovery Act funds made available due to low bids on other local stimulus projects.

Seven more highway projects completed – 
Local projects:

Four more Tier 2 highway projects advertised – WSDOT and local governments advertised four projects receiving surplus stimulus funds from earlier advertised projects.

Key issues: National

Stimulus job reporting guidance expected to change – The White House Office of Management and Budget is expected to provide new guidance on reporting stimulus job creation for the upcoming quarterly data submission in January. The guidance may affect the calculation of jobs saved and retained by Recovery Act projects. The updated guidance will be posted on the OMB stimulus webpage. WSDOT will continue to report monthly labor data on the measured employment webpage.

Five Washington tribes awarded Recovery Act grants – The Federal Transit Administration awarded stimulus funds to five Tribal Transit Programs in Washington State. The awards total over $1.22 million for new buses, other vehicles, equipment, and bus shelters. Nationwide, FTA awarded $17 million to 39 projects. The FTA news release has the full list of projects. The Washington stimulus projects are:

  • Spokane Tribe of Indians received $255,000 for six vehicles
  • Kalispel Tribe of Indians received $335,600 to purchase a bus, two vehicles, and dispatch equipment 
  • The Quinault Tribe of the Quinault reservation received $398,000 to purchase two buses 
  • The Confederated Tribes of the Yakima Nation received $112,000 to purchase 12 bus shelters and two support vehicles 
  • Tulalip Tribe received $126,748 for the purchase of three buses 
  • Additionally, eight Washington tribes received $2.67 million in non-stimulus federal transit grants

Congress provides more funds for high-speed rail – The 2010 Transportation funding bill Congress passed on December 13 includes $2.5 billion in new funding for High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) grants. President Obama is expected to sign the funding bill soon. The additional federal funds are planned to supplement the $8 billion in Recovery Act funds for the high speed rail program.

  • The Federal Rail Administration received applications from 24 states seeking about $50 billion funds and is expected to announce the selected projects in early 2010. Washington State applied for $1.3 billion in HSIPR stimulus funds.

Secretary LaHood hosted high-speed rail manufacturing conference – U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood hosted a conference on domestic high-speed rail manufacturing on December 4 in Washington, D.C. LaHood said more than 30 rail manufacturers and suppliers committed to establish or expand operations in the United States if they are selected to build high-speed rail lines in the U.S.

  • The event’s news release includes a list of the companies participating.

National stimulus website plans changes to improve accuracy – Recovery.gov, the federal government’s official stimulus website, announced new changes in a blog entry December 15. The website will allow stimulus recipients to make corrections more frequently and will post a new list of “errors, omissions, and non-reported awards,” to publicly identify incorrect or incomplete reports. Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board Chairman Earl Devaney wrote that the website has also been updated to better identify congressional districts. Mistakes in the first report identified some projects as occurring in congressional districts that do not exist.

House T & I Committee held oversight hearing December 10 – Minnesota Rep. Jim Oberstar, Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, opened the hearing December 10, by saying the Recovery Act has created over 200,000 infrastructure jobs. Oberstar said the Federal Highway Administration’s $26.8 billion in stimulus projects are providing pavement improvements, widening, and enhancements that add up to 27,756.6 miles of road improvements nationwide.

FHWA has obligated 80% of stimulus funds nationwide – The Federal Highway Administration has obligated almost $21.4 billion to 9,580 projects, or 80% of $26.8 billion in Recovery Act highway funds. Of those projects, 5,639 costing $14.45 billion are under way, and nearly $5 billion has been spent.

Inspector General started a review of U.S. DOT Stimulus Reporting Oversight – The U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General initiated an audit of U.S. DOT oversight of the Section 1512 reporting required under the Recovery Act on December 11. All transportation stimulus recipients were required to post accountability reports on October, 10. The federal Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board requested the Inspector General’s audit.

Stimulus project of the week

Stimulus funds help improve pedestrian safety in Lynnwood
Work is underway on a project to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists at the I-5/196th Street SW interchange in Lynnwood.
Tri-State Construction crews are making great progress on a city of Lynnwood project that will improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists at the I-5/196th Street SW interchange. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided $1.25 million toward the $5.65 million project.

Crews are building a new walkway on the 196th Street SW overpass and a pedestrian bridge over the southbound I-5 off-ramp. The goal of the project is to make it safer and easier to cross I-5 at 196th Street SW on bike or foot. Currently, bicyclists and pedestrians must use a narrow sidewalk on 196th Street SW to travel between east and west Lynnwood. To access the Interurban Trail and Alderwood Boulevard on the west side of the interchange, they must cross 196th Street SW and wind their way through heavily-traveled local streets.

The new barrier-separated pedestrian walkway on the north side of the 196th Street SW bridge provides a safer, wider route across the interchange, separating vehicle traffic from pedestrians and bicyclists on the off-ramp. Finally, an elevated walkway will provide a safe connection to the popular Interurban Trail and Alderwood Boulevard. Crews started work in August and are on track to wrap up the project by next spring. 
 

Important dates

December 20: Next report to U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
January 6: Anticipated bid opening for I-5/North Kelso to Harrison Ave
January 10: Next quarterly report due to OMB
January 13: Anticipated bid opening for I-82/Valley Mall Blvd Interchange
February 17: Deadline for the U.S. Department of Transportation to announce TIGER grants and High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail awards (both are expected earlier)
March 2: Deadline for obligating federal highway funds

Websites of interest

WSDOT ARRA website: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/funding/stimulus
Washington recovery website: http://www.recovery.wa.gov/
Federal recovery website: http://www.recovery.gov/
FHWA recovery website: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/economicrecovery/index.htm
Federal Transit Administration recovery website: www.fta.dot.gov/recovery
Federal Rail Administration recovery website: http://www.fra.dot.gov/us/content/2153
Federal Aviation Administration recovery website: http://www.faa.gov/recovery
OMB recovery website: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/recovery_default/

Ocean Policy Task Force Releases Interim Framework for Effective Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning

“The uses of our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes have expanded exponentially over time.  These waters provide the United States with many commercial, recreational, cultural, energy, scientific, economic, conservation and national security benefits and they sustain diverse habitats and species.  At the same time they are facing environmental challenges including pollution and habitat destruction that make them increasingly vulnerable,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.  “Without an improved, more thoughtful approach, we risk an increase in user conflicts and the potential loss of critical economic, ecosystem, social, and cultural benefits for present and future generations.” 
 
"Coastal and marine spatial planning may sound like the stuff of policy wonks, but it is actually vital to anyone who works or plays on the oceans," said Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "In fact, coastal and marine spatial planning is an essential tool for anyone who depends on the oceans for sustainable jobs, healthy seafood, clean energy, recreation, or vibrant coastal communities."
 
“America is a maritime nation so we must consider how we can protect the environment, facilitate maritime commerce, and responsibly harness oceanic resources.  By pursuing a “whole of government” approach, we can meet our broad goals while protecting our way of life,” said Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral Thad Allen.
 
“Marine Spatial Planning is an important tool that will inform the decisions that the Department of the Interior makes under its many existing coastal and ocean authorities,” said Associate Deputy Secretary Laura Davis.  “It is important that we make every effort to improve communication and coordination on these issues among the federal government, states and stakeholders.”
 
“The interim framework strengthens the work we do with states, tribes, partners and other stakeholders to protect vital resources in our oceans, coasts, and the Great Lakes,” said Peter Silva, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water.  “By opening up the flow of information and promoting transparent, sound science, we will be better equipped to deliver the environmental, economic, and health benefits the public rightly expects.”
 
In developing the Interim Report and Interim Framework, the Task Force undertook a robust public engagement process.  The Task Force heard from and involved stakeholders and interested parties, including holding six regional public meetings, convening 38 expert briefings, and receiving almost four thousand individual comments via the web. 
The Interim Framework includes a number of important provisions that would significantly overhaul the Federal government’s approach to coastal and marine planning, including:  
 
·         A New Approach to How We Use and Protect the Ocean, Coast, and Great Lakes. The Interim Framework is designed to: decrease user conflicts; improve planning and regulatory efficiencies and decrease their associated costs and delays; and preserve critical ecosystem function and services.  The Interim Framework describes how such plans would be developed and implemented, and provides timeframes and steps for phased implementation of the framework.
 
·         Moves us Away From Sector-by-Sector and Statute-by-Statute Decision-Making. While many existing permitting processes include aspects of coordinated planning, most focus solely on a limited range of management tools and outcomes (e.g., oil and gas leases, fishery management plans, and marine protected areas).  Comprehensive marine spatial spatial planning presents a more integrated, comprehensive, ecosystem-based, flexible, and proactive approach to planning and managing uses and activities. 
 
·         Brings Federal, State, and Tribal Partners Together in an Unprecedented Manner to Jointly Plan for the Future.  The Interim Framework is not a top-down planning effort. Rather, it describes a new approach to Federal resource planning that is regionally based and developed cooperatively among Federal, State, tribal, and local authorities, and regional governance structures, through the establishment of nine regional planning bodies.
 
·         Places Science-Based Information at the Heart of Decision-Making:  Scientific data, information and knowledge, as well as relevant traditional knowledge, will be the underpinning of the regionally developed plans.
 
·         Emphasizes Stakeholder and Public Participation:  The planning process would be fully transparent and participatory – requiring frequent and robust stakeholder engagement throughout all steps of the process (i.e., development, adoption, implementation, adaptation and evaluation).
 
The Task Force’s Interim Framework is now available for a 60-day public review and comment period.  After the close of the comment period on the Interim Framework, the Task Force will finalize its recommendations in both this report and the September 10, 2009 Interim Report, and provide a final report to the President in early 2010.
 
For more details on the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, including the Interim Framework, and to submit your comments, please go to www.whitehouse.gov/oceans.

WSDOT Works to Preserve 100 Year Old Bridge

This week by the numbers (project dollars in millions)

Individual highway projects

State

Local

Total

Notes

Total funds

$340

$152

$492

 

Obligated funds*

$222.6 (65%)

$134.8 (89%)

$357.4 (73%)

All funds must be obligated by March 1, 2010

Projects certified

37 (100%)

153 (100%)

190 (100%)

 

Projects obligated

36 (97%)

141 (93%)

177 (93%)

FHWA has obligated some or all funds for the projects

Project delivery to date

Operationally complete

10 (27%)

28 (18%)

38 (20%)

Three state projects were completed this month

Awarded

28 (76%)

132 (86%)

160 (84%)

One local project was awarded
this week

Advertised

31 (84%)

137 (90%)

168 (88%)

No new project advertisements this week

Certified, awaiting advertisment

6 (16%)

16 (10%)

22 (12%)

These projects, including several receiving surplus funds, are planned for upcoming advertisement.

Safety funding buckets ($12 stimulus)

Rumble
Strips

Cable
median
barrier

Total

Notes

Completed

10

0

10

10 projects completed
this week

Awarded

17

6

23

 State stimulus funds only

Advertised 

27

7

34

 State stimulus funds only

Transit projects

Large
urban

Small
urban

Nonurban/
rural

State total

Percent of total $179 awarded

97%

97%

100%

98%

Number of Transit projects obligated

33 of 35

18 of 19

20 of 20

52 of 55
FTA counts all rural projects as one project

August
employment

State

Local

Total

Notes

Payroll

$5

$4.3

$9.3

Average wage is $37/hour

Hours

130,386

121,739

252,125

Up from 144,308 total hours in July

FTEs

754

704

1,458

FTE = 173 hours per month

Employees

2,220

3,213

5,433

Note: Not a count of unique employees

*$4M in state enhancement funds provided to locals. While WSDOT controls $340M, the total for obligation authority is $344M, which is the basis of the percentages in this table, and basis for USDOT review on 3/01/2010.

 

Key issues: State

WSDOT to seek high speed rail funds – WSDOT is applying this week in the second round of applications for a portion of the $8 billion in Recovery Act funds dedicated for High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR). WSDOT is submitting its application for Track 2 funding which closes on October 2. The primary focus of the Track 2 projects is to develop new high speed and intercity passenger rail services, including substantial upgrades to existing services. WSDOT has a total of 25 capital rail projects that qualify for Track 2 consideration. WSDOT applied in August for nearly $435 million in the first round of applications for Track 1 ready-to-go projects. Including both rounds of applications, WSDOT will be applying for a total of nearly $1.3 billion in HSIPR Recovery Act funds.

Five more Recovery Act highway projects completed – WSDOT and local governments across Washington finished five more Recovery Act highway projects, bringing the number of completed projects to 38. The WSDOT project placed eight new low-light traffic cameras on Snoqualmie Pass. Four local governments completed preservation projects.

WSDOT applied for National Fish Passage Program Grant – The WSDOT Stream Restoration Program applied on September 24 for a Recovery Act grant through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ National Fish Passage Program. WSDOT would direct any award from this grant towards the correction of a fish passage barrier on Anderson Creek on SR 16 in Kitsap County. WSDOT plans to remove two consecutive fish-blocking culverts and replace them with a single 20-foot wide fish passage culvert. The project would open approximately 9,300 meters (5.8 miles) of habitat for chum and coho salmon, as well as steelhead and cutthroat trout.

  • Applications are due on September 30.
  • The award ceiling is $500,000 per project out of $2.8 million available nationwide.

Workers earned over $18 million to date on highway projects – Employees have worked nearly 500,000 hours on state and local Recovery Act highway projects since March, earning over $18.6 million. Employment has increased each month to date as more highway projects advance to construction.

  • Employees worked over 250,000 hours and earned more than $9.3 million on state and local Recovery Act highway projects in August. Workers earned an average hourly wage of $37.
  • WSDOT reports state and local employment data on Recovery Act projects each month. See the measured employment page for more information.

Three more highway projects awarded
Local projects

Key issues: National

Intense nationwide competition for $1.5 billion TIGER Grants – The U.S. Department of Transportation announced it has received 1,400 applications for the discretionary surface transportation grant funds included in the Recovery Act. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories submitted applications totaling $57 billion, about 38 times the $1.5 billion available.

  • USDOT will utilize a cost-benefit analysis for all applications requesting more than $100 million.
  • WSDOT submitted three applications for high priority projects on September 15. See the TIGER Grant web page for more information.

Reporting begins October 1 for first OMB report – The White House Office of Management and Budget is collecting submissions for its first nationwide stimulus performance report on October 10. Agencies that received stimulus funds have 10 days to submit a thorough report on project spending and job creation. The report will be available to the public later in October on http:// www.recovery.gov.

House T & I Committee Holds Hearing October 1 – The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing October 1 on Recovery Act project performance and employment to date.

  • Washington submitted a status report to the committee on September 17. WSDOT’s latest reports are posted on the stimulus reporting webpage.
  • The next report is expected to be submitted in November.

USDOT announced $20 million for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) – The DBE Bonding Assistance program will help DBEs compete for work on Recovery Act transportation projects. The program allows DBEs to apply for reimbursement of bonding premiums and fees incurred when competing for or performing on Recovery Act projects. See the WSDOT Equal Opportunity webpage for more information.

Almost 4,000 Recovery Act highway projects under construction nationwide – The FHWA website reported that 3,966 stimulus projects costing $11 billion are under construction in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and on federal lands. Almost $2 billion has been expended on projects. The FHWA has obligated $19.2 billion of $26.8 billion (72%) to 7,965 projects.

Stimulus project of the week

Stimulus provides long overdue bridge painting project in Wenatchee

Work is underway to repaint the 100 year-old Columbia River Bridge and stimulate the Wenatchee area economy at the same time.
The 1,000-foot long bridge between Wenatchee and East Wenatchee supports a huge irrigation pipe and a pedestrian and bicycle path, which is part of the ten-mile Apple Capital Loop Trail. The City of Wenatchee maintains and operates the bridge and along with local agency partners, recently completed more than a $100,000 in structural repairs to the century-old bridge so it could continue to be used as a critical link in this unique, nationally recognized trail.
Photo of the Columbia River Bridge
The city also determined that the future of the bridge was dependent on significant preservation measures; chief among them, a paint job. The price tag for the first repainting since the bridge was built in 1908 was well beyond the resources of the City and its partners. A solution came in the form of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. The project received $1,506,749 to clean, paint, illuminate, and add safety and security features.
Gary Owen, Wenatchee City Engineer, said the project is not as easy as it might sound, “The project entails cleaning the entire structure with high pressure water, rust removal with hand tools, priming of bare metal, and painting of the entire structure with two coats of paint. All water and debris must be pumped off the bridge and placed in containers, tested, and disposed of in a sewer treatment plant for the filtered water and a landfill for the paint chips and other debris.”

The bridge must be closed to bikes and pedestrians while the work is underway. The nearby SR 285 Senator George Sellar Bridge, just a few hundred yards downstream had been closed to pedestrian traffic since May due to a construction project adding another eastbound lane. That project removes the sidewalks from the bridge, replacing them with a new structure being added to the south side of the bridge, but that facility won’t be finished until late next year.

The pipeline bridge closes to traffic by October 1 and the Sellar Bridge sidewalk and trail connection will open by then. It is likely, that due to weather, the pipeline bridge painting project will have to shut down for winter and finish next spring. The contractor for the project is F.D. Thomas, Inc. of Central Point, Oregon.

Important dates

September 30: National Fish Passage Program habitat restoration grant applications are due
October 2: Applications for Track 2 FRA High-Speed Passenger Rail grants are due
October 10: WSDOT submits first new federal OMB quarterly performance report
November 20: Next congressional status report due

Websites of interest

WSDOT ARRA website: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/funding/stimulus
Washington recovery website: http://www.recovery.wa.gov/
Federal recovery website: http://www.recovery.gov/
FHWA recovery website: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/economicrecovery/index.htm
Federal Transit Administration recovery website: www.fta.dot.gov/recovery
Federal Rail Administration recovery website: www.fra.dot.gov/us/content/2153
Federal Aviation Administration recovery website: http://www.faa.gov/recovery
OMB recovery website: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/recovery_default/

WSDOT Awards One of the Largest Recovery Act Projects

This week by the numbers (project dollars in millions)

Individual highway projects

State

Local

Total

Notes

Total funds

$340

$152

$492

 

Obligated funds

$242

$130

$372

All funds must be obligated by March 1, 2010

Projects certified

36 (100%)

149 (100%)

185 (100%)

 

Projects obligated

35 (97%)

136 (91%)

171 (92%)

FHWA has obligated some or all funds for the projects

Project delivery to date

Operationally complete

6 (17%)

2 (1%)

8 (4%)

Five state projects were completed this month

Awarded

28 (78%)

118 (79%)

146 (79%)

Eleven projects were awarded this week

Advertised

30 (83%)

136 (91%)

166 (90%)

 

Certified, awaiting advertisment

6 (17%)

13 (7%)

19 (10%)

 

Safety funding buckets ($12)
Note: state only

Rumble
Strips

Cable
median
barrier

Total

Notes

Awarded

6

17

23

 

Advertised 

6

27

33

 

Transit projects

Large
urban

Small
urban

Nonurban/
rural

State total

Percent of total $179 awarded

96%

97%

100%

96%

June
employment

State

Local

Total

Notes

Payroll

$3.1

$2.3

$5.4

Average wage is $38/hour

Hours

82,962

61,346

144,308

More than double the June total of 57,698

FTEs

480

355

834

FTE = 173 hours per month

Employees

1,608

1,805

3,413

Note: Not a count of unique employees

 

Key issues: State

New employment data reported for July – WSDOT and local government reported payroll and hours worked associated with Recovery Act projects more than doubled from June to July as stimulus-funded construction efforts continued to grow. Contractors, subcontractors and governments paid out $5,434,708 for 144,308 hours of work on more than 100 Recovery Act projects in July. The average employee received $38 per hour for work related to the projects.

  • The payroll rose by 148% and hours worked climbed 150% from June to July.
  • The payroll and hours worked had also doubled from May to June.
  • WSDOT reported employment data to Congress and the Federal Highway Administration on August 20. The reports are available at WSDOT’s federal reporting web page. Visit the measured employment web page for more information.

I-405 Recovery Act project awarded under budget – WSDOT awarded a $19.3 million contract to build an auxiliary lane on I-405 in Bothell. The project was awarded 36% below the anticipated amount of $30 million. Crews will build the northbound lane between NE 195th Street and SR 527, where afternoon commuters face severe backups daily.

WSDOT submitted an application for nearly $435 million in high speed passenger rail funds – On August 24, Washington submitted an application requesting $435 million of the $8 billion in Recovery Act funds available for high speed passenger rail projects nationwide. This is the first of two application tracks for Recovery Act grants. The second grant application is due on October 2. Track 1 applications are for projects that can be completed within two years of federal funding obligation. Track 2 applications are for corridor projects that can be completed by 2017.

  • WSDOT is proposing 20 projects totaling $435 million in Track 1. The projects identified will reduce congestion and travel times, increase rail capacity and travel speeds, eliminate bottlenecks, and improve stations.
  • The Federal Rail Administration is expected to select projects in September.
  • WSDOT will apply in October for Track 2 funding for additional projects that will provide substantial upgrades to existing services.
  • States had registered to request $103 billion nationwide under a pre-application process, nearly 13 times the $8 billion available.
  • A map of proposed Washington projects is available at the high speed passenger rail webpage.

Eleven more highway projects awarded
State project

  • I-405/NE 195th St and SR 527 – Auxiliary lane

Local projects

  • Arlington – 188th Street Pedestrian Trail
  • Oroville – 5th Ave/SR 97 to 23rd Ave 
  • Wenatchee – Historic Pipeline/Pedestrian Bridge
  • Ridgefield – Hillhurst Rd Overlay Project
  • Benton City – 7th Street: Ellen Ave to North City Limits
  • Benton County – Kiona to I-82 and Kiona Roads 
  • Richland – First Street Improvements 
  • Wapato – Camas Ave Grind and Overlay Project 
  • Port Townsend – Upper Sims Way Improvement Project – B 
  • Spokane County – 5 mile + Strong Rd. Project 2

Key issues: National

Congress tracking state transportation spending – Chairman James Oberstar and the U.S. House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure continues to collect and publish reports on transportation Recovery Act spending on August 20.

  • Washington submitted its fifth monthly report on project status and employment data to the committee on August 20. WSDOT registered on federal stimulus reporting web site – WSDOT registered to submit federal stimulus accountability reports to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) using a new federal webpage: www.federalreporting.gov. Starting in October, the site will publish reports on the main stimulus website www.recovery.gov.

 

  • States will submit the first quarterly accountability report through the website on October 10.

Recovery Act highway projects under construction nationwide –3,248 stimulus projects costing $9.5 billion are under construction in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and on federal lands, the FHWA reported on its website. The FHWA has obligated  $17.5 billion of $26.8 billion (65%) to 6,626 projects.

Stimulus project of the week

SR 4 improvements enhance driver safety and put people back to work

Drivers traveling SR 4 may be looking down at fresh pavement and sideways at new guardrails, but for local contractor crews in Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties, the highway improvements have led to things looking up – economically, that is.

For several weeks, crews from Lakeside Industries, Inc. of Longview and Pacific Rim Service & Construction Company, Inc. of Portland, Ore. have been hard at work enhancing motorist safety along SR 4 by paving, upgrading guardrails and cable barriers, and retrofitting bridges with improved railings. These safety improvements are part of WSDOT’s SR 4 – Skamokawa to Coal Creek Road – Paving and Guardrail project, which improves nearly 28 miles of roadway on SR 4. Funds from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided by Wahkiakum County have increased the scope of this project and helped contractor crews get working.

For many of the crew members, this project has put them back to work, and they could not be more thankful. Terry Norton with Pacific Rim has been out of work since last October, and says he is “so happy and thankful” to be called back to work. Ben Hwee, the owner of Pacific Rim, echoes Norton’s appreciation. “I’ve been able to call employees back to work that otherwise wouldn’t have had a job to go to,” says Hwee. Matt Smeall is another one of Hwee’s crew members dependent on income from the project, and says that he was “on the verge of bankruptcy this year, and so lucky to be hired on” for the SR 4 project.

Though the construction has caused some delays along the highway, local residents and businesses have expressed enthusiasm about the overall project. Businesses in the area have seen an influx in customers, as the project crews dine in local restaurants and lodge at local motels. Lorraine Shroeder, a waitress at Duffy’s Irish Pub in the town of Grays River, gushed that the work is “simply gorgeous” and predicts that once the work is complete, “people will be much happier than before, because it’s a smoother ride and much more enjoyable to drive.”

Important dates

August 31:
Next status report to the Legislature is due
September 15: Deadline for $1.5 billion TIGER discretionary grant applications
September 20: Next congressional accountability report is due
September 30: National Fish Passage Program habitat restoration grant applications are due
October 2: Applications for Track 2 FRA High-Speed Passenger Rail grants are due
October 10: WSDOT submits first new federal OMB quarterly performance report

Websites of interest
WSDOT ARRA website: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/funding/stimulus
Washington recovery website: http://www.recovery.wa.gov/
Federal recovery website: http://www.recovery.gov/
FHWA recovery website: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/economicrecovery/index.htm
Federal Transit Administration recovery website: www.fta.dot.gov/recovery
Federal Rail Administration recovery website: www.fra.dot.gov/us/content/2153
Federal Aviation Administration recovery website: http://www.faa.gov/recovery
OMB recovery website: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/recovery_default/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highway projects advertised or planned for advertisement soon
   

Lead agency

Project
description

OFM jobs estimate 1

Funding – stimulus dollars

Total
project
budget

Advertisement date

WSDOT2

I-5/Martin Way to 48th St – NB and SB Concrete Pavement

N/A

$10,780,000

$11,335,000

Planned for
advertisement
on August 31

Bothell

North Creek Trail – Section 1, Stage 2 (Schnitzer)

11

$500,000

$1,139,000

Advertised
on August 19

Bothell

North Creek Trail – Section 2, Stage 2 (Canyon Park)

14

$600,000

$1,457,000

Advertised on  August 19

Ilwaco

Beards Hollow Overlook

4

$100,000

$442,040

Advertised on 
August 5

Spokane County2

5 Mile + Strong Rd. Project 2

3

$331,000

$351,000

Advertised on July 31

1 The OFM job estimate is calculated using the Office of Financial Management’s multiplier, which includes direct, indirect, and induced jobs.

These projects are funded with surplus stimulus funds. See www.wsdot.wa.gov/funding/stimulus/projectlist#tier2 for more information.

Data Source: WSDOT Project Control and Reporting and WSDOT Highways and Local Programs.

 

See full project list at – http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Funding/stimulus/ProjectList.htm

 

State & U.S. Announce Hanford Cleanup Breakthrough

The Washington State and federal officials announced a proposed judicial consent decree that will be filed in federal court, then be subject to a public comment period. The proposed consent decree between the Department of Energy (DOE) and Washington State will set a new and achievable schedule for construction and startup of the WTP and the retrieval of waste from the large underground single-shell storage tanks at Hanford. Hanford currently stores 53 million gallons of radioactive and chemical waste in 177 underground tanks at the Site. The proposed consent decree settles litigation that was filed by Washington State last November and joined by the State of Oregon in February to compel the Energy Department to complete key aspects of the Hanford cleanup.

In tandem with the consent decree, the Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Washington State Department of Ecology are proposing changes to their 1989 Tri-Party Agreement to establish a new, realistic but aggressive schedule for completing waste retrieval from all single-shell storage tanks by 2040, and treating all of the tank waste by 2047. The modifications to the Tri-Party Agreement will also be subject to a public comment period before they are finalized.

 

The waste from the single-shell tanks will be removed and pumped to newer double-shell tanks, and ultimately transferred to the WTP where it will be immobilized into a sturdy glass waste form through a process called vitrification.

In addition, DOE and the State of Oregon have agreed upon a consent decree that recognizes Oregon’s strong interest in the cleanup effort and provides Oregon the right to receive copies of certain reports and notices that DOE must file under the consent decree with Washington State; the right to participate as observer in joint three-year reviews with DOE and Washington State; and prior notice of any motion by DOE filed with the court to modify the consent decree with Washington or invoke judicial dispute resolution proceedings under its terms.

Oregon and Washington will also enter into a separate Memorandum of Agreement that will solidify the two states’ cooperative efforts regarding Hanford. Under the agreement, the Oregon Department of Energy will have the opportunity to review the Department of Ecology’s correspondence with DOE, consult with Washington State regarding changes and progress at Hanford, and provide input before final decisions are made.

The Tri-Party Agreement would extend the current schedule for completing retrieval of waste from single-shell tanks from 2018 to 2040, and completing treatment of all tank waste from 2028 to 2047.  These new schedules are, in reality, aggressive, but achievable.  With a goal of accelerating the completion dates, the proposed agreement adds a process for reviewing the final completion dates every six years. Each six-year review will determine whether the completion dates can be accelerated. At three-year intervals, a detailed system plan will be generated to evaluate options for accelerating cleanup.  This "End Date Review Process" ensures that the Hanford tank waste cleanup remains as aggressive as possible.

As a result of the negotiations and settlement, the Department of Energy will issue an upcoming draft environmental impact statement that will include a preferred alternative of not importing certain off-site radioactive, mixed radioactive and hazardous waste to Hanford at least until the WTP is operational. Once the draft environmental impact statement has been issued and if public comment doesn’t identify a reason for not executing the consent decree, the state and DOE will move to enter the consent decree with the federal court and will also finalize the Tri-Party Agreement changes described above.

 

Under the agreement, DOE will also prepare a lifecycle analysis of all Hanford cleanup costs to meet legally mandated timelines for cleanup.  The Tri-Party Agreement agencies today also finalized and signed changes in the agreement that establish new milestones for cleaning up contaminated groundwater under the Hanford Site to ensure protection of the Columbia River.

For more information about the Hanford cleanup, please visit: http://www.hanford.gov/

 

Comments from Obama Administration and State Officials are below:

Washington Governor Christine Gregoire: "This is a great day for Washington State, our neighboring state of Oregon, and the entire nation. It’s a great day for the Columbia River, a lifeline of the Pacific Northwest, and for all the communities downstream from Hanford. We now have strong partners in the White House who are committed to cleaning up the existing toxic contamination and improving the health and safety of our citizens."

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski: "The agreements announced today mark a critical turning point in our bi-state and federal partnership to clean up the Hanford site. I believe this renewed commitment to an aggressive clean up schedule and oversight will finally deliver the public health and environmental protection for the citizens on both sides of the Columbia River."

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu: "Our agencies share a common interest in the protection of the environment, the public and the Columbia River. This agreement will ensure continued cleanup progress at the Hanford Site. I appreciate the commitment, perseverance and professionalism of all the people in the many organizations involved in these negotiations, who worked tirelessly over the past two years to reach this accord."

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson: "With today’s announcement, we are charting the course for a successful cleanup at Hanford. We simply must step up to the challenges at Hanford to protect the Columbia River and the communities that depend on it. Today, we renew our commitment to get the job done and get it done right."

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder: "I am pleased the parties have come together after years of effort to reach these important agreements that set Washington State, Oregon and the federal government on a pathway to cleaning up these sites. These historic settlements reflect the administration’s strong commitment to environmental protection here in the Pacific Northwest and around the country."

U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.): "This agreement is a blueprint for making real progress toward clean up goals. But to meet those goals we need to follow through with consistent budgets and a commitment to smart clean up policies. The people of this community have done everything that’s been asked of them. We not only have a legal obligation to meet clean up milestones, we have a moral obligation to ensure this community’s sacrifices are being honored."

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.): "This agreement will provide more certainty in meeting cleanup milestones in order to help protect Columbia River communities while more quickly transitioning the site to new uses like a clean energy park. We now have the state and the Department of Energy on the same page working to open up this land to new uses, including clean energy generation. This is good news for the Tri-Cities economy."

U.S. Representative Doc Hastings (R-Wash.): "Throughout this long process, it’s been clear that both Washington State and DOE have a shared commitment to cleanup. With today’s announcement we can see that cleanup can best be achieved when parties sit down, talk and persevere through impasses and reach agreement. I’m hopeful that these changes will result in smooth, continuing cleanup progress."

Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna: "I’m proud to join my fellow state and federal leaders in announcing this settlement which includes firm timelines for Hanford cleanup that are directly enforceable by the court. By confirming its accountability for cleaning up this deadly waste, the federal government honors the Tri-Cities’ contribution to defending our country from World War II though the end of the Cold War."

Gov. Gregoire announces certification for 138 transportation projects

Infrastructure project certifications enable the governor to confirm to the federal government that construction projects ― roads, water systems and others ― have received the review required by law and represent an appropriate investment of taxpayer dollars.

Washington expects to receive more than $4.5 billion from the federal stimulus package that will be used to modernize Washington’s infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, increase access to health care and provide tax relief. The White House estimates the package will sustain or create nearly 75,000 jobs in Washington state.

In addition to the certification of the 138 transportation projects, the governor announced that the Federal Aviation Administration has provided stimulus funds to four Washington airports:

-Bellingham International Airport ($800,000)
-Paine Field in Snohomish County ($11.3 million)
-Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake ($2 million)
-Pangborn in Wenatchee ($1 million)

Gregoire also announced that $38 million in economic stimulus funds will be distributed soon to make improvements to Washington’s water systems. To see the list of projects under consideration, visit: http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/dw/draft_list.pdf.

To date, the state has distributed approximately $177 million of its federal economic stimulus money, most in Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) funding.

Washington state is administering the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investments with an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability. Gregoire created a new Web site, www.recovery.wa.gov, so every Washingtonian can see where tax dollars are going and hold government accountable for the results. On the federal level, President Obama has appointed Vice President Biden to oversee all states’ recovery efforts and to root out waste and fraud. This combined oversight will ensure taxpayer dollars are put to good use and recharge the economy.

Broadcasting pioneer Paul Harvey dies at age of 90

In 2005, Harvey was one of 14 notables chosen as recipients of the presidential Medal of Freedom. He also was an inductee in the Radio Hall of Fame, as was Lynne.

Former President George W. Bush remembered Harvey as a “friendly and familiar voice in the lives of millions of Americans.”

“His commentary entertained, enlightened, and informed,” Bush said in a statement. “Laura and I are pleased to have known this fine man, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Harvey composed his twice-daily news commentaries from a downtown Chicago office near Lake Michigan.

Rising at 3:30 each morning, he ate a bowl of oatmeal, then combed the news wires and spoke with editors across the country in search of succinct tales of American life for his program.

At the peak of his career, Harvey reached more than 24 million listeners on more than 1,200 radio stations and charged $30,000 to give a speech. His syndicated column was carried by 300 newspapers.

His fans identified with his plainspoken political commentary, but critics called him an out-of-touch conservative. He was an early supporter of the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy and a longtime backer of the Vietnam War.

Perhaps Harvey’s most famous broadcast came in 1970, when he abandoned that stance, announcing his opposition to President Nixon’s expansion of the war and urging him to get out completely.

“Mr. President, I love you … but you’re wrong,” Harvey said, shocking his faithful listeners and drawing a barrage of letters and phone calls, including one from the White House.

In 1976, Harvey began broadcasting his anecdotal descriptions of the lives of famous people. “The Rest of the Story” started chronologically, with the person’s identity revealed at the end. The stories were an attempt to capture “the heartbeats behind the headlines.” Much of the research and writing was done by his son, Paul Jr.

Harvey also blended news with advertising, a line he said he crossed only for products he trusted.

In 2000, at age 82, he signed a new 10-year contract with ABC Radio Networks.

Harvey was born Paul Harvey Aurandt in Tulsa, Okla. His father, a police officer, was killed when he was a toddler. A high school teacher took note of his distinctive voice and launched him on a broadcast career.

While working at St. Louis radio station KXOK, he met Washington University graduate student Lynne Cooper. He proposed on their first date (she said “no”) and always called her “Angel.” They were married in 1940 and had a son, Paul Jr.

They worked closely together on his shows, and he often credited his success to her influence. She was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1997, seven years after her husband was. She died in May 2008.