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Washington's FAST program might soon procure federal funds


Cargo and commuters passing through Washington's Puget Sound next year might reach their destination more quickly due to an allocation of federal funds into the Freight Action Strategy for Seattle-Tacoma-Everett (FAST) Corridor program.
FAST Corridor — a $400 million program targeting 15 separate highway/rail grade-separation and port-access projects designed to improve the flow of freight and commuters through Puget Sound — Nov. 30 gained a federal allocation of $20 million to help fund several projects. FAST projects would be 27 percent federally funded, and 73 percent funded from other public and private sources.
The $20 million is contained in the Congressional conference agreement on the fiscal-year 2002 transportation appropriations bill. The conference report now moves to the House and Senate for consideration.
"These funds will help FAST Corridor partners, including the Port of Tacoma, expedite construction of much-needed freight mobility projects throughout this region," said Andrea Riniker, Port of Tacoma executive director, in a prepared statement.
FAST Corridor was formed in 1996 by a partnership among transportation agencies, economic development organizations and transportation companies seeking to reduce traffic conflicts along the Interstate 5 corridor.
The $33 million Port of Tacoma road overpass project — which opened in August — was the first project constructed with FAST Corridor funds. Two other projects are under construction. Among several planned projects in Pierce County, Wash., is the "D" Street overpass project, located in downtown Tacoma.