Tomorrow marks 11 months since the West Seattle Bridge closed. Tonight, 3 notes:
One aspect of the West Seattle Bridge project that hasn’t received a lot of attention is the potential use of a community workforce agreement, and use of geographic hiring preferences.
The City’s Department of Finance and Administration is pursuing an exemption from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to allow us to use a Community Workforce Agreement (CWA)/Priority Hire on the project. Early in the Trump administration, USDOT withdrew proposed rulemaking that would have allowed geographic hiring preferences. In light of termination of the pilot program, these type of issues require FHWA’s consultation with the USDOT Office of the Secretary and Office of General Counsel. SDOT says, “We will work in partnership with FAS, with Build America, NACTO, other allies, and our congressional delegation to ensure Secretary of Transportation Buttigieg has this issue near the top of his agenda.”
Here’s a city document explaining CWA/Priority Hire. As for the timeline, as of the February 11th West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting, SDOT expected to start seeking bids as soon as this week.
LOOKING WAY INTO THE FUTURE: Also from Herbold’s newsletter:
SDOT is continuing work on scoping for a study for replacing the bridge, which will eventually need to happen. They are coordinating with the Sound Transit Engineering Working Group to discuss Sound Transit’s assumed marine navigational clearance requirements as well as how to best align initial screening of alternatives with their DEIS release for the West Seattle to Ballard Link Extension project.
One potential wrinkle, though, is the Sound Transit “realignment” that could push back West Seattle light rail even further than the recently revised date of 2031. ST’s board is scheduled to look at some realignment scenarios when it meets this Thursday afternoon.
LOW-BRIDGE TICKETS: This is the fourth week that citations are being issued to low-bridge rulebreakers, seventh week since the cameras were turned on. In the first two weeks of $75 citations – February 1st through 15th – Seattle Police tell WSB they’ve sent 3,277 citations from the camera photographing vehicles headed eastbound, 4,099 from the camera photographing the westbound direction. If all of those resulted in $75 payments, that’s more than half a million dollars. However, the money doesn’t all go to the city. It contracts with Verra Mobility – formerly American Traffic Solutions – to run the cameras, and a cut goes to the state, as explained in our coverage last year pf the ordinance authorizing the cameras:
After paying for administrative costs, half of the remaining funds are to be remitted to the state’s Cooper Jones active transportation safety account, which the state uses to fund grant projects or programs for bicycle, pedestrian, and non-motorist safety improvements. The remaining half of the funds may only be used for transportation improvements that support equitable access and mobility for persons with disabilities.
If you need a refresher on the current rules, go here.