RESOLUTION NO. 2010-03
A RESOLUTION of the City Council of the City of Lakewood, Washington, opposing the Washington State Department of Transportation?s Point Defiance Bypass project and enhanced Amtrak rail service as are currently proposed.
WHEREAS, key policy decisions and actions on the part of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and others prior to Lakewood?s incorporation led to its partnership with Amtrak and establishment of high-speed passenger rail service providing bidirectional service between British Columbia and Oregon and points in between; and
WHEREAS, both Cascades and Coast Starlight service are currently routed through Pierce County upon an existing rail line, bypassing Lakewood to the west along Puget Sound and outside of Lakewood?s corporate boundaries; and
WHEREAS, in 2006, WSDOT initiated plans to relocate Amtrak passenger service to an existing rail line located partially within Lakewood?s corporate limits, known as the Point Defiance Bypass project; and
WHEREAS, the stated intent of the Point Defiance Bypass project is to reduce passenger travel time by lessening the rail distance between Seattle and Portland by 5.9 miles and avoiding several identified physical features of the current route that tend to create delays, for a net time savings of only six minutes; and
WHEREAS, in November 2006, the Lakewood City Council received a briefing from WSDOT staff on the Point Defiance Bypass project and questioned impacts of the project upon Lakewood and means of mitigation; and
WHEREAS, in late 2007, the City learned that WSDOT was considering abandonment of the development of an Environmental Assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in favor of utilizing a Documented Categorical Exclusion (DCE) for the Point Defiance Bypass project; and
WHEREAS, in November 2007, the Lakewood City Manager expressed concerns to the Transportation Secretary that the NEPA DCE instrument was inadequate to mitigate expected impacts; and
WHEREAS, WSDOT disagreed with the City Manager?s concerns about the NEPA DCE approach; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to an agreement between WSDOT, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA/USDOT) to act as co-leads on the Point Defiance Bypass project, a NEPA DCE was issued in June 2008 for the Point Defiance Bypass project under the FHWA?s authority; and
WHEREAS, in late 2008, WSDOT issued the Washington State Amtrak Cascades Mid-Range Plan, which included the Point Defiance Bypass project, in order to fulfill a legislative directive that it provide financial and other logistical justification related to developing additional Amtrak Cascades service; and
WHEREAS, the City of Lakewood submitted timely comments expressing concerns with the Washington State Amtrak Cascades Mid-Range Plan; and
WHEREAS, WSDOT disagreed with the City of Lakewood?s concerns about the Washington State Amtrak Cascades Mid-Range Plan; and
WHEREAS, in early 2009, the USDOT introduced a new High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) $8 billion grant program; and
WHEREAS, in seeking HSIPR funding, WSDOT included the Point Defiance Bypass project within a broader scope of improvements in the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor program; and
WHEREAS, in order to satisfy HSIPR eligibility requirements, a Program Environmental Assessment was issued for the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor program in September 2009; and
WHEREAS, the City of Lakewood submitted timely comments expressing concerns with the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor Program Environmental Assessment; and
WHEREAS, WSDOT disregarded the City of Lakewood?s concerns with the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor Program Environmental Assessment; and
WHEREAS, in 2009, the HSIPR program became linked with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), in the context of laying a foundation for a longer-term program to establish a national network of passenger rail corridors as a part of federal economic stimulus actions; and
WHEREAS, $8 billion in immediate ARRA funds are reserved for HSIPR projects nationwide, of which WSDOT has applied for more than $1.3 billion; and
WHEREAS, the ARRA/HSIPR funding being sought by WSDOT would not only fund the Point Defiance Bypass and other, non-Lakewood projects but also would result, over time, in the placement of additional trips and train sets upon the rail line running through Lakewood; and
WHEREAS, the USDOT decision on ARRA/HSIPR funding is likely to occur during the first quarter of 2010; and
WHEREAS, the State Transportation Secretary has gone on record indicating that the Point Defiance Bypass project will not proceed unless it is safe; and
WHEREAS, the City of Lakewood has serious concerns about the project which will not be satisfactorily mitigated by the project as it is currently configured, including but not limited to significant safety concerns;
NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF LAKEWOOD, WASHINGTON, DOES HEREBY RESOLVE as follows:
Section 1. The Lakewood City Council formally sets forth its opposition to the Point Defiance Bypass project as currently proposed by WSDOT.
Section 2. The City of Lakewood requests a full review by WSDOT of safety mitigation measures such as grade separation between trains and vehicular traffic.
Section 3. The Lakewood City Council encourages state and federal representatives to withhold financial support for the Point Defiance Bypass project and additional related corridor projects and service enhancements until safety concerns have been addressed to the City?s satisfaction.
ADOPTED by the City Council this 19th day of January, 2010.
CITY OF LAKEWOOD
Douglas G. Richardson, Mayor
Alice M. Bush, MMC, City Clerk
Approved as to Form:
Heidi Ann Wachter, City Attorney
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