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Seattle is Ready for Historic and Transformative Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal

Today, I joined Mayors and labor unions for the signing of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. This historic bill will create millions of good paying jobs and make long overdue investments in transportation and infrastructure. 

Over the past two years, Seattle has faced unprecedented obstacles, many of them related to our urgent need to invest in infrastructure. The West Seattle Bridge emergency closure – a key corridor for shipping, transit and transportation – created an enormous challenge for our residents and businesses over the last 20 months. Last year, one of our piers collapsed. Just this past weekend, we saw an electrical failure on the 102-year-old University Bridge require a 2-day closure. Much of the infrastructure in our City is in urgent need of investment and requires support and partnership from every level of government.  

This package positions Seattle to take the next steps to scaling transit in our region. Building convenient, rapid transit will give our residents viable alternatives to single occupancy vehicles, reduce congestion and help eliminate the use of fossil fuels. This bill includes the largest federal investment in public transit in history, and Sound Transit, SDOT, and King County Metro have dozens of shovel ready projects to expand transit access and accessibility in every part of the City. 

Investments in infrastructure is also about reducing our emissions. In early November, I was in Glasgow at COP26. In order to reach net zero by 2050, we need to dramatically increase our investment in clean transit and electric vehicles. Our Transportation Electrification Blueprint is a roadmap for redesigning our cities to run on clean electric power, and this bill will help make it a reality.  

In the past several years Federal partnership has been the deciding factor in some of the most important infrastructure projects in Seattle. The emergency repair of the West Seattle Bridge would not have been possible without additional resources. We recently broke ground on the Madison Bus Rapid Transit line, which was a direct result of a Federal Small Starts Grant. In the coming months and years, Seattle will be one of the best positioned cities in the country with shovel worthy projects to invest in transit and safe multimodal transportation, repair our bridges, create EV infrastructure, and make real investments in environmental justice and safety programs. These investments are not just building the future of Seattle, they will also invest in good-paying union jobs and create opportunity for the young people of our City.  

Our Office of Sustainability and Environment, Seattle City Light, Seattle Public Utilities, and Seattle Department of Transportation are ready to deliver on the following priorities for Seattle: 

$89.9 Billion of investments in Light Rail and Transit. Seattle and the Puget Sound are on the frontlines of building our light rail and transit infrastructure. Over the next five years, Sound Transit will be significantly expanding access to the region and kicking off generational projects that will transform our city and region. Sound Transit will be one of the most competitive transit projects in the country. In Seattle, we are working on the next generation of transit corridor investment in our Rapid Ride corridors that are ready to move forward with Federal support.  

$110 Billion to Repair our Roads and Bridges. Unfortunately, Seattle and cities across the country have been on the frontlines of aging bridges and infrastructureSeattle owns and maintains 125 bridges with the median age around 60 years. In 2019, 29 percent were in good condition, 65 percent were in fair condition, and six percent were in poor condition.  The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal makes the single largest investment in repairing and reconstructing our nation’s bridges since the construction of the interstate highway system. It will rebuild the most economically significant bridges in the country as well as thousands of smaller bridges. SDOT’s priority in the coming years will be to utilize local, state and federal resources to address bridges in need of structural repairs and seismic retrofits, including our bridges across the Ship Canal that are so critical to the movement of goods and people in our region.  

$5 Billion for Cities to Implement Safe Streets and Roads for All.  This program creates a new grant program administered by the USDOT to fund planning and implementation of Vision Zero plans. Seattle has projects underway and more projects in the pipeline to address our high crash corridors, identify streets for protected bike lanes, improve walking and biking routes so kids can safely get to school, and build out a network of calmer residential streets. 

$500 Million for Healthy Streets. Seattle will keep investing in our Healthy Streets and urban forestry programs. In addition to a series of projects that may be eligible as part of the Duwamish Action Plan, King County and City of Seattle recently announced the results of a groundbreaking heat mapping project that quantifies the harmful, inequitable impact that hotter summers are having on the region. The bill establishes a new Healthy Streets program to provide grants to eligible entities to deploy cool pavements and porous pavements and to expand tree cover. The goals of the program are to mitigate urban heat islands and the impacts of climate change, improve air quality and reduce the extent of impervious surfaces, storm water runoff and flood risks and heat impacts to infrastructure and road users.  

$7.5 Billion for EV Infrastructure. This year, I outlined our Clean Transportation Electrification Blueprint to surge our investments in electrification. As Mayor, we passed a law requiring EV infrastructure in many new housing and commercial developments and recently announced a pilot to electrify and convert heavy-duty diesel trucks operating in the Duwamish Valley to electric to reduce carbon pollution and diesel emissions. Washington is expected to receive $71 million over five years to support the expansion of an EV charging network in the state. Cities will also have the opportunity to apply for the $2.5 billion in grant funding dedicated to EV charging in the bill.  

$89 million to Protect the Puget Sound. Communities will be able to better protect our national water treasures and ensure they continue to serve as vital economic and recreational assets. 

$7.5 Billion for Clean Buses and Ferries. King County Metro has more than 170 electric trolleys operating in Seattle and building on King County Metro’s electrification plan, this bill invests $5 billion in zero emission and clean buses and $2.5 billion for electric ferries. 

$25 Million for Pedestrianization. This bill establishes a grant program to provide assistance to local governments for bollard installation projects designed to prevent pedestrian injuries as we pedestrianize areas of Seattle. 

$17 Billion for Port Modernization. The Port of Seattle is the fourth-largest container gateway in North America.  

$3.5 billion for Weatherization. Building on the city’s investments for low-income single family and multi-family buildings, this bill will ensures that homes are updated with insulation and energy-efficient appliances to save energy and reduce utility costs. 

$550 million for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants. Cities will be to expand existing programs such as Seattle’s Clean Heat program and provide support for under-resourced commercial buildings.