It’s fourth-and-goal for funding the Sullivan Road Bridge. And the Spokane Valley City Council is desperately looking to score before time runs out in 2013.
At Tuesday night’s regular council meeting – the last for 2012 – the council voted 5-0 to approve Spokane Valley’s legislative agenda heading into the new year. Not surprisingly, securing the remaining $4 million in funding to replace the aging southbound Sullivan Road Bridge topped the priority list.
“We’re looking to secure as much as we can from the Legislature,” said Mike Jackson, city administrator.
The city received $3.5 million from the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board last month, bringing the total to $15.8 million toward the estimated $19.7 million needed to fund the bridge replacement. Spokane Valley has already committed $2.3 million in matching funds and has already received $8 million in federal dollars and $2 million from the Washington State Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board.
However the $3.5 million in TIB funds will have to be returned if Spokane Valley hasn’t awarded a construction contract by next November – and that’s something council members don’t want to do.
“It’s really important (to secure the additional funding) because the clock is ticking,” Mayor Tom Towey said Monday. “Sullivan Bridge is at a critical point.”
While city engineers say the structure is in no danger of collapsing, deterioration to the over 60-year-old bridge is what caused the imposition of weight restrictions in 2011. While the city has shored up the bridge for the time being to lift the restrictions, final repairs of the conveyance over the Spokane River are necessary soon.
Other priorities, for when the Legislature convenes next month in Olympia, include:
- Protecting the local state-shared revenues and restoring funding to accounts cut during the last session. Those funds include the Liquor Excise Tax funding and liquor profit revenues.
- Adding addition lien authority to recoup code-enforcement costs. The city is looking for legislation that would give it additional tools to recoup the costs for enforcing code compliance, such as when the city performs nuisance abatement.
- Increase the threshold from $10,000 to $20,000 as a “substantial development” for new dock construction on fresh water, such as the Spokane River. Under the Shoreline Management Act, a permit is needed to construct a dock that is labeled a substantial development. Increasing the threshold would show support for the local dock industry.
The city will also send a letter of support for Spokane Valley Partners’ request for capital improvements to its facility on Broadway Avenue. However, it is dropping a formal request for $225,000 for a demonstration classroom/kitchen, replacing the building’s heating system and roof in order to increase chances of securing funds for the Sullivan Bridge replacement.
In other news, the council approved the appointments of Council Members Arne Woodard and Dean Grafos to the Visit Spokane and International Trade Alliance liaison committees, respectively. The reassignments became necessary as Council Member Brenda Grassel, who currently serves on both boards, will resign from the council as of Dec. 31.
The council will be taking a two-meeting break over the holidays. The next council meeting will be held on Jan. 8.