President Budgets over $600 Million for Transportation in Washington and Oregon
President Obama’s proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2017 provides significant funding for transportation projects in Washington and Oregon. Of the $3.5 billion it makes available under the Federal Transit Administration's Capital Investment Grant Program, the budget allocates more than $600 million to seven transportation projects in the two states.
Alaska is not receiving any funds under the auspices of the program.
Five of those projects are in Washington and two are in Oregon. At $125 million apiece, the Lynnwood Link light rail project in Seattle and the Portland-Milwaukie light rail project receive the most money under the proposed budget. The Lynnwood Link is an 8.5-mile extension of light rail in Seattle from Northgate to Lynnwood that will include new stations, cars and other facilities and cost $1.5 billion in total.
The federal government is funding the $745.2 million of the $1.49-billion Portland-Milwaukie project that included the opening of 7.2 miles of rail, 18 light rail cars and a park-and-ride. The federal government is making annual payments.
Other allotments under the proposed budget include $75 million for the Tacoma Link light rail project; $75 million to connect Seattle’s South Lake Union and First Hill streetcar lines; $75 million for transit development in Portland’s Powell-Division district; an expansion of rapid transit bus service from Everett to Bothell, Wash.; and considerations for an electric trolley bus project in Spokane, Wash.
The President’s proposed budget is awaiting approval by Congress.
Amazon’s Biodomes Near Completion in Seattle
GeekWire reports that construction crews began assembling the steel exterior of the three biodomes on Amazon’s new campus north of downtown Seattle in early February. The biodomes are a significant piece of the still-developing three-block, 3.3-million-sq-ft complex that already includes a completed office building across the street.
When completed, Amazon will employ a horticulturalist to take care of the plants inside the domes.
PCL Construction Services Makes Progress on Continental’s Tower 12
PCL Construction Services began work on the eighth story of the Tower 12 apartment building earlier this month and plans to reach the 37th and final story by the end of 2016, according to the company. This progress puts construction ahead of schedule.
Continental Properties owns the project and expects to open the apartments in May 2017. The building will feature 7,000 sq ft of retail space and 314 apartments. It will also parking for 325 cars.
Cary Kopczynski & Co. is the structural engineer, Weber Thompson is the design architect, and MulvannyG2 Architects is the architect of record for the building, which is named for Seattle’s famous “12th Man” contingent of Seattle Seahawks fans.
Experts Expect Construction Spending Downturn In Alaska
A recent report from the University of Alaska Anchorage Institute for Social and Economic Research indicates that construction spending in Alaska will recede to 2013 levels. The state spent just under $9 billion on capital projects last year, but that figure could drop to $7.3 billion this year.
While many sectors will see spending drop, defense appears to be a bright spot as the study indicates that the sector will see a 25% increase in spending to the tune of $552 million in 2016.
This spending decline is largely due to the low price of oil. North Slope crude, for example, projects to have an annual wellhead value of $5 billion this year, which is down from $10 billion in 2015. ISER Professor Emeritus Scott Goldsmith expects overall oil and gas expenditures to drop by 25% in 2016.
However, there is some good news in the oil and gas sector, such as the $900-million ConocoPhillips Greater Moose’s Tooth No. 1 oil project. Additionally, advanced age of several North Slope fields should generate employment demand.
ISER expects 2016 spending to be down across the board in the healthcare, transportation and utilities relative to 2015 spending. Construction spending in mining will remain largely unchanged in 2016, according to the report.