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Cooperative study identifies Tacoma Tideflats area transportation improvements


State and local transportation departments have a new tool to prioritize and seek funding for road and rail improvements in the Tacoma Tideflats area.

The Tideflats Area Transportation Study came to two conclusions. First, investments in the corridor will not improve without completing State Route 167. Second, the study identifies projects that would augment a completed SR 167 to improve traffic further.

The study brought together a diverse set of stakeholders, including the Port of Tacoma, Washington State Department of Transportation, Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board, City of Fife, City of Tacoma, Marine View Ventures (an entity of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians), Pierce County and SSA Marine to produce a coordinated transportation plan.

This coordinated planning approach leads to more comprehensive solutions that cross jurisdictional lines.

The study covers the port industrial area, downtown Tacoma, the City of Fife, as well as portions of unincorporated Pierce County and Puyallup Indian Reservation.

The recommended package of transportation improvements was selected to better serve truck freight traffic in the area and sustain growth over the next 20 years.

It does not include the completion of SR 167, which previous studies already identified as essential by 2030 to prevent the transportation system's failure. The study's projects instead identify smaller projects that could ease localized pinch points now and enhance the overall system after SR 167 is finally complete.

See the full report at www.portoftacoma.com/tats.

Altogether, the study's recommended projects and the unfunded portion of supporting projects assumed to be built by 2030 total between $579 million and $679 million, not including the completion of SR 167.

While that's a significant amount, the study's unified voice should help the identified projects gain traction for future funding. Projects that demonstrate broad benefit and support among multiple jurisdictions often rise higher on regional and federal priority lists.

The local jurisdictions can begin to include the projects in their transportation improvement plans to be considered for funding.

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