OLYMPIA, WA -- On December 4, Thurston Regional Planning Council (TRPC) awarded $550,000 in grant funds to high priority transportation projects that will benefit the Town of Bucoda, City of Rainier, City of Tenino, and the Nisqually Indian Tribe and for others traveling through these communities. The projects are funded through the Rural Community Support Program (RCSP), a new grant fund jointly established by TRPC and Thurston County. The awarded projects will start construction between 2022 and 2025.
- Town of Bucoda – $137,500 award. Main Street Sidewalk Replacement between 6th and 7th Avenues. One of the oldest sidewalks in the County is deteriorating and large cracks are becoming a safety hazard to its users. A new sidewalk will preserve safe walking conditions in the town’s commercial core which includes a post office, grocery store, restaurant/tavern, and the Bucoda Community Center.
- City of Rainier – $137,500 award. State Route 507/Meyer Street Crosswalk. State Route 507 is a major highway that separates Rainier residents from Wilkowski Park and the adjacent Yelm-Tenino Trail. The City will construct a new crosswalk with push-button flashing lights to improve visibility and safety for people crossing the highway between surrounding neighborhoods and the park. In addition, a new trail section will provide a connection between the north shoulder of highway and the popular Yelm-Tenino Trail.
- City of Tenino – $137,500 award. North Hodgden Street Improvements. One block north of Tenino City Hall, Hodgden Street is slated for a variety of improvements to benefit city residents and nearby businesses. Sidewalks will be completed on both sides of the street, preserve parking, and improve stormwater drainage conditions.
- Nisqually Indian Tribe – $137,500 award. Elder Services Facility. The Tribe plans to construct a new Elders Center. The center will be collocated with a new Health Clinic that is currently under construction. Siting these facilities close to a new multi-family residential housing area moves the Nisqually Tribe closer to its vision to consolidate its major community destinations and services on the north side of State Route 510. The grant award will fund the design and a portion of the construction of sidewalks or pathways that will provide safe and convenient walking routes for Tribal residents accessing these facilities and their services.
The Thurston region’s policy makers recognize that the County’s smaller communities struggle to finance high priority but small-scale projects through traditional grant programs. Federal and state grant programs are commonly out of scale for the needs of these communities. A grant application process can be costly and time consuming. Often when they succeed in receiving a federal grant award, the administration costs and federal requirements quickly overburden staff expertise and budgets, making it impractical to use these grants.
Thurston County finances the RCSP with County revenue that would otherwise be dedicated for transportation projects. When Thurston County receives a large federal grant award, the County can program a portion of its transportation budget to small community projects. TRPC assists the County by establishing and managing the grant process. The region’s Transportation Policy Board reviews the grant proposals and the Regional Council issues the grant awards. Projects are selected for: 1) Safety; 2) Maintenance and Preservation; 3) Multimodal Efficiency; and 4) Active Transportation.
TRPC is an important partner in the transportation planning process. As a council of governments comprised of elected officials from cities, the county, tribes, Intercity Transit, school districts, colleges, and a variety of local government special districts, TRPC offers broad representation to decision making on regional transportation priorities.
To assist the region in fulfilling its long-range transportation planning goals in both the urban and rural areas of Thurston County, TRPC has authority to program discretionary federal funds to transportation projects, programs, and services that serve local communities. For more information about TRPC’s grant funded projects visit www.trpc.org.
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