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Old February 25th, 2009, 12:54 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by Grayproduct View Post
You are exactly right, debt is the problem here. You can't fix a debt problem by taking out more debt (stimulus plan) just like you can't remedy an alcoholic with more alcohol. Crazy, the last 15 years of economic growth the United States, and for the most part, the world, has been derived from leveraging debt upon debt. That debt has to be serviced and with the principle and interest amounts growing exponentially, doing so becomes problematic. Very un-good. Since 2000, aggregate GDP went from $10 trillion to $14 trillion. At the same time, we went from 260% of GDP (roughly $26 trillion dollars) to over 360% of GDP (roughly $50 trillion dollars) in outstanding debt, public and private from 2000 to 2007.

What does this tell you about this crisis? Do you think spending 787 billion dollars in debt money is going to somehow get our consumer to take out even MORE debt out to restart our unsustainable borrow-spend economy? Recall that most economic growth here is derived from people like you and I going out and purchasing items, and not by creating any sort of tangible wealth through some form of production. The consequences of spending so much debt money will be felt eventually, rest assured. To put it another way; if the sums of money required to take the Keynesian route would actually be used(created), it would be akin to sinking your own ship to put out a deck fire.

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...=640575&page=8
Yes. I completely understand what you're saying. This is really difficult and sticky situation on how to solve the debt and financial crisis. There are few things that the government shouldn't have done in the past 20 years... Spent billions and billions dollars on unnecessary war, signed few bills that made it easier for people to borrow loans even they have bad credits or unable to afford it at all, and bail failed companies out. We can't go back and fix these mistakes. I do have concern about our government spending but this stimulus plan... I don't 100% agree on everything on that plan but I do support most of the plans that involved investing America, education, public transit, and create jobs. That should help reduce the debts once revenues come in when Americans get jobs and can pay the taxes and pay debts off. I think that plan should be last big government spending period. We can't afford to another billion dollars in rescues plans for really long time.

I personally don't think the government should rescue companies and irresponsible people's debts at all. I think these people should pay for their mistakes. I personally have some debt but I don't want anyone to pay for my debts and I want to pay it off my own. That is my responsibility.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 03:02 AM   #42
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OK folks there are plenty of threads in the NA Skybar and elsewhere about the philosophical justifications (or lack thereof) of the stimulus plan(s). If you want to talk about them, please go to those other threads. Let's leave this thread for talk about specific projects in Washington state.
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Old March 1st, 2009, 11:48 PM   #43
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http://www.heraldnet.com/article/200...WS01/702289926

Saturday, February 28, 2009
13 local road projects added to stimulus
By Bill Sheets, Herald Writer

A new pedestrian bridge across I-5 in Lynnwood. A new bypass around Granite Falls. Making roads safer near schools in Stanwood.

These are a few of the projects in line for money from the federal economic stimulus package.

Earlier this week, the state released a plan to spend $16.1 million in these federal dollars for state and federal highways in the county.

On Friday, a committee for a regional planning group named 13 more projects in Snohomish County to receive $14.9 million from a second pot of the economic stimulus.

Altogether, Washington is on track to pocket $671 million as its share of transportation money in the federal stimulus package.

Of this, $341 million would be divvied out by the state for highways; $151 million is going to highways controlled by regional agencies, and $179 million will go to transit, distributed based on ridership.

The list on Friday was released by the Puget Sound Regional Council. King County would get $40.4 million, Pierce County $18.65 million and Kitsap County $3.95 million for local road projects.

The list of local projects won't be made final until March 12, when the Puget Sound Regional Council executive board is scheduled to vote on the package.

"The final list will be impacted ultimately by what happens in Olympia," said Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson, vice president of the regional council and a member of the 32-member executive board.

If any of these road projects receive state money, it could move some of the projects off the regional council's list, making room for others, officials said.

Local governments submitted a huge list of requests for stimulus money. Which of these ultimately gets funded is being decided in a three-step process, said Steve Thomsen, public works director for Snohomish County. He also is a member of the Puget Sound Regional Council's 34-member regional project evaluation committee, which narrowed down the list.

First, a group of about 30 local officials met several times to discuss the requests. This list went to the regional council's committee, which will forward it to the executive board.

The most important consideration was the "shovel-ready" factor, Thomsen said -- whether a project had been through the permitting and design process and is ready to go to bid within 90 days.

The group agreed from the beginning that the process had to be competitive and based on established guidelines, Thomsen said.

"The group works really well, and somebody will keep the person in line who's trying to do an end run and put their favorite project on the list, keep them honest and ask them a couple of questions," he said.

After shovel-ready, the next biggest factor was whether a project would contribute to economic development by being located in a job center, such as Everett or Lynnwood, or would improve access to one of these areas. Next came geographic distribution, ensuring that outlying areas received some benefit, Thomsen said.

Stephanson said he likes what he's seen from the committee's work.

"I think it was a good process and was well vetted," he said. "It's been a lot of hard work by staff in a quick time but they've done a great job. It really has been a very cooperative effort in our county."
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 02:19 AM   #44
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Alright! A new highway around Granite Falls will pull us out of this recession for sure!
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 02:53 AM   #45
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^
LOL.

This, apparently, is a list the PSRC has come up with to submit for stimulus funds:
http://psrc.org/RPEC_ARRA_FinalRecom...ons_022709.pdf
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 07:31 AM   #46
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Granite Falls, shouldn't we figure out which projects will benefit the most people? The PSRC sure has done its job in this round (NOT!)
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 08:09 PM   #47
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Out of curiosity, I looked at Granite Falls on Google Earth to see what was beyond that point to create enough traffic for a bypass. Seems Granite Falls is one of the very few towns in our state (including PULLMAN, of course) unworthy of decent resolution.
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 06:40 AM   #48
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I don't get it why they would want to bypass Granite Falls? It's just a small town and most towns much bigger than Granite Falls don't have a highway going thru, just a state highway with stoplights, etc. A good example like Aberdeen, Hoquiam and some other towns.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 04:52 AM   #49
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http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/s...2/daily43.html

Wednesday, March 4, 2009, 5:30pm PST
Legislature passes $341M federal stimulus transportation package
Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle) - by Deirdre Gregg

The Washington Legislature has passed a bill that will send $341 million of federal stimulus money flowing to transportation projects in Washington state. The bill now awaits Gov. Chris Gregoire's signature.

The list includes many asphalt preservation projects, cable barriers and rumble strips around the state. It also includes funding for some projects that were supposed to be paid for with the gasoline tax but were running over budget because of higher-than-expected construction costs.

The list notably does not include money for Seattle. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels had argued that stimulus money should go to Seattle's Mercer and Spokane street improvements, two projects linked to the replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The bill passed the state Senate 45-4, after receiving 67 yes votes and 28 no votes in the House.

Meanwhile, the state Senate passed a bill designating the deep-bore tunnel option for replacing the viaduct. The bill says the finance plan must include $2.4 billion of state gas tax money and at least $400 million from tolling the tunnel. The bill now heads to the House to face a skeptical Speaker Frank Chopp. Chopp, D-Seattle, has said he opposes the tunnel because of costs. He has been pushing his own plan, an enclosed elevated viaduct with office and retail space underneath and a park on top.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 07:55 AM   #50
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$341 million and not a penny for Seattle? What is wrong with this picture?
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Old March 6th, 2009, 04:21 AM   #51
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My employer is getting some stimulus money too. Not mentioned in this article is money we're also getting for a fish culvert along a road.

http://www.heraldnet.com/article/200...tribal.housing

Thursday, March 5, 2009
Stimulus goes to tribal housing
By Krista J. Kapralos
Herald Writer

Washington state's American Indian tribes are expected to receive nearly $15 million in federal dollars to build new homes, renovate old ones and repair roads, according to a statement from Sen. Maria Cantwell's office.

The money is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which is funneling nearly $800 billion into the U.S. in an effort to jump-start the economy.

The Tulalip Tribes are expected to receive $1.2 million. The only tribes receiving more are the Colville Confederated Tribes in northeastern Washington, with $1.7 million, and the Yakama Indian Nation in southeastern Washington with $1.9 million.

Tulalip tribal leaders plan to put the money toward a tax credit to help finance the construction of 66 homes for tribal members.

"We are so excited and grateful that we are going to receive this money," Tulalip Vice Chairwoman Marie Zackuse said in a prepared statement. "This money allows us to give our tribal membership the opportunity to have a home."

Lack of adequate housing is a chronic problem on reservations. At Tulalip, hundreds of families are on a housing waiting list.

The Lummi Nation, near the U.S.-Canada border, is set to receive $1.2 million through the act.

The Stillaguamish Tribe is expected to receive about $90,000, and the Sauk Suiattle Tribe is expected to receive nearly $150,000.

The money is part of about $3 billion going to tribes nationwide as part of the act. About $600 million of that pot is slated for housing programs, according to the National Congress of American Indians, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that advocates for tribal governments. Additional money will be available to tribes in the Pacific Northwest through a competitive grant process.
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Old March 11th, 2009, 04:45 AM   #52
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YEAH!! MORE DOUBLE-DECKER BUSES!!!!

http://www.heraldnet.com/article/200...ohomish.County
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Old March 13th, 2009, 10:02 PM   #53
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http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/transp...timulus13.html

March 12, 2009 11:50 p.m. PT

Federal stimulus money OK'd for 4 area counties
More than $214 million allotted for local transit, road projects

By LARRY LANGE
P-I REPORTER

Regional officials Thursday approved distributing more than $214 million in federal economic stimulus money through four Puget Sound area counties for work including highway widening, light rail trains and replacing doors on Seattle's monorail.

Officials said the money, part of a stimulus package approved by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in February, will boost the economy in the next three years.

"These projects will create jobs and they will, in the long run, create economic prosperity," said King County Councilwoman Julia Patterson, an executive board member of the Puget Sound Regional Council, which approved pass-through of the money.

The board approved using $136 million in stimulus money to help finance 25 transit projects worth an estimated $3.5 billion in King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties.

Members also OK'd using almost $78 million in stimulus money for road, sidewalk and trail projects worth an estimated $509.8 billion. Those include $15 million for the widening of the Spokane Street Viaduct in Seattle and $1 million for renovation of the Seattle Center monorail. City officials hadn't determined exactly where to spend the monorail money, but "we have a long list of items that are part of the deferred maintenance on the trains and the doors are the next thing up," said Seattle Center spokeswoman Deborah Daoust.

It wasn't clear how many jobs this batch of federal money will create; officials had no immediate estimates, though council spokesman Rick Olson predicted work could start next month on a new bridge over state Route 520 on Northeast 36th Street in Redmond. The goal is to get the stimulus money "obligated" to projects by July 1, said council transportation planner Charlie Howard.

Tymon Berger, an attorney and member of Associated General Contractors of Washington, said he expects plenty of competition for the government work because money for private projects has dried up.

"It's a very hungry market out there," he said.

The list of road projects did not include the $50 million Seattle seeks for the controversial Mercer Street widening project; an environmental-impact statement wasn't completed in time to compete for the money.

The Spokane and Mercer Street projects are considered critical for handling east-west traffic during replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. City officials say they're searching for other sources for the needed Mercer Street money and for $10 million more for Spokane Street. The total cost of widening Spokane Street is estimated at $168.5 million, while the Mercer project is estimated at $200 million.

Other road projects include $2 million toward a $69 million interchange rebuilding in Marysville, $3.5 million toward a $32.6 million truck bypass around Granite Falls and $3.5 million toward the $42.8 million widening of part of East Lake Sammamish Parkway.

On the transit side, Sound Transit got a big chunk of stimulus money: $23 million toward $2.2 billion in projects including the downtown-University of Washington light rail line, a Mountlake Terrace freeway transit station, new express buses and another commuter rail station in Tukwila. The state ferry system got $8.4 million to help finance $65.7 million in state ferry and terminal preservation work.

David Bloom, a Seattle City Council candidate, reminded council officials of opposition to the Mercer project. "This project is not on the list," Patterson replied, but Bloom noted the city is trying to get federal money for it.

Several members of the council's executive committee and its transportation policy board, while voting for the final list of federally funded projects, expressed frustration that some didn't make the list so the federal money didn't reach all parts of the four-county region.

Kitsap County Commissioner Josh Brown got transportation board members to agree that a new bypass road in his county, kept off Thursday's list, will be considered for the next round of federal funding.


FOR MORE INFORMATION


The list of regional highway projects recommended for one block of money is online at

http://www.psrc.org/ARRAprojectsfhwa031209.pdf


The list of transit projects recommended for one block of money is online at

http://www.psrc.org/ARRAprojectsFTA031209.pdf
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Old March 13th, 2009, 10:32 PM   #54
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What are they doing to Rainier Ave S?
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Old March 14th, 2009, 08:12 PM   #55
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"The list of road projects did not include the $50 million Seattle seeks for the controversial Mercer Street widening project; an environmental-impact statement wasn't completed in time to compete for the money."

This is the kind of thing that makes me crazy. I was a young man when this project first arose, right after the World's Fair. (Yeah, we had one here.) Controversial? For 47 years? That's about as long as flying saucers have been controversial! I don't suppose it ever occurred to anyone simply to grab one of the 50 environmental-impact statements that have already been done off the shelf, re-date it, and send it in? I know .. there isn't one for this particular alignment, but who would ever notice or care, really?
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Old March 14th, 2009, 08:42 PM   #56
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Stimulus money goes for a bridge to Microsoft

A highway overpass meant to ease congestion around Microsoft's growing Redmond headquarters will be among the state's first recipients of federal funding from President Obama's stimulus plan, raising objections from groups scrutinizing how the $787 billion is spent.

A highway overpass meant to ease congestion around Microsoft's growing Redmond headquarters will be among the state's first recipients of federal funding from President Obama's stimulus plan, raising objections from groups scrutinizing how the $787 billion is spent.

The overpass will connect Northeast 31st Street and Northeast 36th Street, bridging Highway 520, which separates the older portions of the company's large corporate campus from a major new expansion nearing completion on the west side of the freeway.

"They said this is really important to them and we said it's important to us but we don't have enough funding," said Bill Campbell, city of Redmond public-works director, recalling early discussions with the company.

Microsoft committed $17.5 million in funding, 70 percent of the initial cost estimate, as part of a broader 2006 agreement regarding development of the campus. The city would come up with the rest, and even landed $2.5 million in regular federal aid, Campbell said.

As planners designed the project, they saw that because it crosses 520 at an angle, it would more likely cost $35 million to $40 million, Campbell said.

Planners discussed the additional costs with Microsoft — "everything from them contributing all of the increase to some kind of a split," Campbell said. "I think they're committed to the total funding that they agreed to at the beginning of the process," he said. Discussions are expected to continue when the final cost of the project is known.

Meanwhile, the city eyed the deteriorating economy and emerging federal stimulus plan, and applied for Federal Highway Administration funding in the plan to make up the additional costs.

On Thursday, the Puget Sound Regional Council gave the project $11 million, topping the list of more than 50 projects in King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties sharing in $214 million in funding distributed through the organization.

Redmond sought bids for the project Friday and expects to begin construction in June.

Watchdog group objects

Without the stimulus dollars, Microsoft would have had to kick in more money or wait longer.

"We will be watching the decisions made by the states very closely to ensure the money is spent appropriately," said Nick Shapiro, a White House spokesman. "At present, this project still remains under review."

The fact that stimulus dollars are going toward a project seen to benefit a wealthy corporate giant raised the hackles of taxpayer groups and stimulus watchdogs.

"I'm sure Steve Ballmer or Bill Gates could finance this out of pocket change," Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, said of Microsoft's chief executive officer and chairman. "Subsidizing an overpass to one of the richest companies in the country certainly isn't going to be the best use of our precious dollars.

"It's a bridge to Microsoft," he said. Ellis' Washington, D.C.-based group, which tracks government spending, coined the phrase "bridge to nowhere" to describe a proposed span in Alaska that got $223 million in federal funding in 2005 and later was canceled.

Project details

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) explains the impetus for the project on its Web site:

"The Overlake area of Redmond is growing rapidly, due in part to the expansion of the Microsoft campus. The new bridge will improve traffic flow and provide a critical link to the east and west side of Highway 520. It will provide a direct connection between Microsoft campus buildings on both sides."

The tree-lined, 480-foot overpass will have one vehicle lane in each direction, pedestrian paths and a bike lane. WSDOT says it will be "an eye-catching gateway to the city of Redmond."

Other expected benefits include improved safety. Right now, pedestrians, bikes and vehicles traveling east and west through the area share the broad, busy Northeast 40th Street overpass.

The $787 billion stimulus plan, which Obama signed Feb. 17, includes $27.6 billion nationwide for highways, $8.4 billion to improve public transportation, and $8 billion for high-speed rail and intercity-passenger lines. It requires giving priority to projects targeted for completion within three years. States can lose funds if they aren't allocated quickly.

"This is one of the first manifestations of some of the concerns we had about the stimulus: that you would have the use of federal cash for things that would have been paid for either privately or locally," said Ellis of the taxpayer group. "We're really not adding any money, we're just substituting."

The stimulus may not boost permanent employment in Washington state, as most of the projects it funds will take just a few months to complete, said Michael Ennis, director of the center for transportation at the Washington Policy Center, a Seattle nonprofit group that studies fiscal issues.

"The state is running around trying to find these little projects that are ready to go," he said. "These people will all be unemployed again by the summer."

Campbell said he expects the project to take 16 to 18 months, with completion expected in winter 2010.

Seattle Times technology reporter Benjamin J. Romano contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

The renderings of this bridge is at http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...tbridge14.html
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Old March 14th, 2009, 11:31 PM   #57
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Yeah, that just seems frivolous. It's good that it provides construction jobs and infrastructure, but for Microsoft employees? Come on, they can't drive their Mercedes a different route? lol. It kind of makes me wonder what kind of lobbying went into play here.
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Old March 15th, 2009, 03:09 AM   #58
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At least it looks kinda neat.

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Old March 15th, 2009, 06:38 AM   #59
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It's not frivious at all. It'll revolutionize a lot of transit/pedestrian commutes and bike commutes, and knit together two major employment centers. The cost is minor. The only negative is that it apparently has one sidewalk instead of two.
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Old March 15th, 2009, 07:16 AM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhays View Post
It's not frivious at all. It'll revolutionize a lot of transit/pedestrian commutes and bike commutes, and knit together two major employment centers. The cost is minor. The only negative is that it apparently has one sidewalk instead of two.
I've tried to stay away from the Stimulus talks because I really don't know the best way to spend the money. mhays, You have always seemed level headed and knowledgeable so if you think a bridge in Redmond is a good use then it's probably better than I initially thought.
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