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Port Commissioners End 2010 with Major Investments in Environment, Congestion Relief


Duwamish cleanup, Eastside Rail Corridor, Clean Air Strategy all part of final meeting

At their last meeting for 2010, the Port of Seattle Commission paved the way for environmental and congestion relief projects in 2011. Commissioners approved $15 million for environmental remediation projects next year, part of a five-year environmental program costing nearly $68 million. The board also approved a $5 million investment in the South Park Bridge replacement, and finalized an agreement with Puget Sound Energy for easements along the Eastside Rail Corridor.

"Last week, we authorized a budget that reflects the priorities of generating jobs and protecting the environment," said Commission President Bill Bryant. "Today's actions show that we are prepared to hit the ground running in 2011."

Environmental Investments: Today's action authorized spending on several environmental remediation projects across port facilities. Much of the funds will go toward cleanup of the Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund site. Along with partners King County, the City of Seattle, and the Boeing Company, the Port is working with the US EPA and the Washington Department of Ecology to develop a remediation plan for the site. Specific projects include Terminal 117 sediments, bank and uplands; cleaning up contamination at Terminal 115 from former operations; and several other complementary projects throughout the Lower Duwamish area. 

Airport environmental projects will include remediation at the former Lora Lake Apartments complex; remediation of groundwater at the former Olympic Fuel Farm site; and long-term monitoring of groundwater at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.  The Real Estate Division will continue clean-up efforts at Terminal 91, Fishermen's Terminal, and Terminal 5. 

The Port is working with many partners and grant agencies on these environmental projects.

See a full list of the environmental projects funded with today's action here.

Congestion Relief: The commission authorized CEO Tay Yoshitani to execute an agreement with King County investing $5 million in the South Park Bridge replacement.  Easements valued at just over $700,000 are part of that investment.  This investment is in addition to the $8 million in FAST Corridor investments included in the 2011 budget.

"The South Park Bridge is a vital connector to the Duwamish industrial area, and to the communities that are our neighbors," said Commission Vice President Gael Tarleton.  "Those communities depend on the jobs created by the Port, and we are investing in their future."

The Airport is also working with Sound Transit on the extension of Link Light Rail south of the airport to 200th.  The rail corridor passes through airport property, and the two agencies are working closely to optimize the route and protect property for the South Access freeway, which will be necessary in the future when 509 is extended.

Eastside Rail Corridor:  As planned, Puget Sound Energy is purchasing easements along the Eastside Rail Corridor for just over $13 million.  The easements are located along the north and south sections of the Woodinville Subdivision.  Commissioners authorized CEO Yoshitani to finalize the agreement with PSE.

Find more information about how the Port has worked to place the corridor into public ownership here

Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy: Today's briefing highlighted the success of air quality programs at the Port of Seattle.  The Clean Air Strategy, a partnership with Port of Tacoma and Port Metro Vancouver, was adopted in 2007 and establishes emission reduction goals for ocean-going vessels, cargo-handling equipment, rail, harbor vessels (such as tug boats), and drayage trucks.  A few highlights:

·         At-Berth Clean Fuels: The port has invested $1.2 million in a program that has reduced over 357 tons of sulfur dioxide emissions from ocean-going vessels.  In the two years since it was introduced, 164 vessels (with nearly 600 vessel calls between them) have taken part, burning cleaner, 0.5% or less sulfur fuels in auxiliary engines.  These fuels also reduce particulate matter emissions by 60%.

·         Cruise ships: In both 2009 and 2010, all cruise ships calling at the Port of Seattle met the goal of using either 1.5% sulfur fuel or shore power.

·         Clean Truck Program: Through the ScRAPS program, which provides $5000 or blue book value (whichever is greater) to truck owners scrapping their trucks, 244 older trucks have been taken off of the road.  The average model year of replacement trucks bought by those drivers is 2000; average model year for the overall drayage fleet is 2001.

The port has invested $1.5million in this initiative to assist the truckers who serve port   facilities in meeting the January 1, 2011 requirements.  In addition, port staff members have been involved in significant outreach to the trucker community, hosting resource fairs, assigning a specific trucker liaison within the port's Office of Social Responsibility, partnering with the African Chamber of Commerce, establishing a trucker hotline and e-mail for questions about the clean truck program, and, through Port Jobs, assisting those truckers who wish to find employment in a different field.

A full description of the Clean Air Strategy programs can be found here.

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