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News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Council Roundup: City to join regional animal services program

Also, council briefed on improvements to highways through city

The City Council Monday voted to join a regional animal services program for the next 30 months that will spread the costs of animal control, sheltering and licensing services among 27 suburban cities and King County's unincorporated communities.
 
The program will be administered by King County, which last year had sought to get out of the animal control business due to rising costs and other factors. County officials ultimately decided a lack of space in private shelters made it impractical for the county to halt animal control services.
 
Under the agreement, various animal control activities will be restructured to create efficiencies, including closure of the King County shelter in Crossroads. Bellevue and the other 26 cities together will pay the county about $1 million annually for animal control, and funds collected from pet licenses and penalties will be credited back to each city. The final cost for Bellevue for the 30-month period is projected to be about $165,000.

At the direction of Bellevue council members, staff will continue to work with neighboring cities to determine the feasibility of establishing a smaller, subregional program to provide animal control services. The earliest such a program could be created would be 2013.

Feedback: Alison Bennett, Policy Advisor, 425-452-2808 or abennett@bellevuewa.gov

Improvements to highways recapped
The council was given a broad overview of recent improvements to the three major highways in Bellevue.

The briefing was partly an update on how well the city has done in implementing the highway components of its Regional Transportation Vision, and partly a chance for the council to discuss transportation priorities for the 2011 Legislative session.

Bellevue's transportation vision calls for a balanced, multimodal approach that supports the city's economic and land use goals and consists of four elements: general purpose freeway lanes, a high-occupancy vehicle system, regional bus improvements and high-capacity transit.
Working with the state Department of Transportation and state Legislature, the city has accomplished several major highway improvements the last few years.
 
However, with gas tax revenue falling at the same time demand statewide for new transportation investments is growing, funding for new projects will be more challenging to come by.

"We've been very successful and we'd like to see the success keep rolling," said Mayor Don Davidson.

A summary of key highway projects completed or nearing completion, and those not yet funded, includes:

  • Funded Interstate 405 projects: $631 million worth of projects have been completed or started in recent years on I-405 including: an off-ramp to Northeast Sixth Street for northbound, high-occupancy vehicles; a new Northeast 10th Street overpass; added lanes through South Bellevue; and the braided on- and off-ramps between Northeast Eighth Street and SR 520.
  • Unfunded I-405 projects: Long-term improvements, totaling up to $1.8 billion, are planned for the highway through Bellevue, but so far there is no funding. Improvements include a southbound braided ramp from SR 520 to Northeast 10th Street; an extension of Northeast Sixth Street from I-405 to 120th Avenue Northeast; new lanes and ramp improvements at Northeast Fourth and Southeast Eighth streets; and a new interchange at Northeast Second Street, with a new bridge at Main Street. The biggest project, at a cost of up to $825 million, would add a new lane in each direction from Bellevue to Renton.
  • SR 520 projects: A cornerstone of the council's regional vision has been replacement of the SR 520 Bridge, along with other improvements to the 520 corridor, including HOV connections, direct transit access, bus flyer stops and a continuous bicycle and pedestrian path. The state has funded the work with a budget of $4.65 billion, though other corridor elements -- such as interchange improvements and 124th and 148th avenues -- are currently not funded.
  • I-90 projects: Improvements to the I-90 corridor HOV lanes, funded at $187 million, began in 2008 and are scheduled for completion in 2014. The work is to prepare the highway for the East Link light rail project. A new auxiliary lane from the Eastgate interchange to the Lakemont Boulevard exit, estimated to cost $30 to $50 million, remains unfunded.

To help pay for projects that don't have funding, the Legislature is expected to consider various tolling options. On I-405, state officials have been evaluating express toll lanes to improve operations and to generate funding for improvements. Several regional projects of benefit to Bellevue on the I-405 corridor could be funded this way if approved by the legislature.

Council will further discuss its transportation priorities and funding options at a fall meeting as it refines its 2011 Legislative strategy.

Feedback: Rick Logwood, Capital Projects Manager, 425-452-6858 or rlogwood@bellevuewa.gov

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