Transportation planning and funding are complicated issues.   Transportation – the flow of traffic through and around Port Orchard, the condition of the streets,  pedestrian  and bicycle safety – has been a focus of my attention during my first term as a council member.  As the population in South Kitsap grows (not just in the City of Port Orchard), capacity demands on our roads increases.  Solutions  to meet these demands will include transit opportunities, multi modal systems – pedestrian paths and bicycle routes, adding lane miles and preserving and maintaining the existing network.   All of the solutions require funding sources, which are highly competitive and changing.
During 2016, Port Orchard engaged  Infrastructure Management Services  (IMS)   to test and evaluate our  68.18 miles of streets.  IMS prepared a  Pavement Management  System report  that detailed the conditions of our street network  and prioritized the work to correct deficiencies.   The cost to accomplish the work is significant – approximately $1,000,000 per year.   The council is committed to systematically preserving and maintaining our transportation network.  Our work will be at a slower pace than recommended by the  consultant.   We must stay within a manageable budget.   It will be necessary for us to continue to seek preservation and maintenance grants.  Most of the grant applications require a Pavement Management System report.  The city was proactive in having this evaluation completed.
Transportation Solutions, Inc. (TSI), a traffic consultant, was engaged to  forecast  future travel demand.   The capacity of our roadways shrinks as our population increases.   Traffic counts prove there is an  increased number of cars passing through the city daily.  The model used land use forecasts consistent with Port Orchard’s projected growth and historic trip generation.   This report allowed the city to define the financial impact of development on transportation needs.  The council instituted a traffic impact fee to recover the cost of growth.
It has been necessary for the council to look at a variety of ways to fund transportation shortfalls.  A Transportation Impact Fee and Concurrency Ordinance were established.  These are  methods for development to pay for the impact it creates. A Transportation Benefit District was established and a motor vehicle license fee of $20 was authorized.  The funds generated by the Transportation Benefit District may be used for transportation improvements that preserve, maintain, operate and reconstruct the existing transportation infrastructure of the city.
Funding for the Tremont project – making four lanes from Highway 16 to Port Orchard Boulevard – required the city to seek grants from several sources.  The city received an $8 million grant from the Transportation Improvement Board, $2 million from the state’s transportation budget and $1.7 million from the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council’s countywide federal process.  The grant applications asked the question “Do you have Traffic Impact Fees, a Concurrency Ordinance and a Transportation Benefit District?”   Being able to answer ‘yes’ allowed the Tremont applications to be successful and receive grants totaling $11.7 million.
Adjusting or creating fees is never an easy decision.  I spend much time analyzing the benefit to our city and comparing all of our individual costs to the success for all.
My membership in local and regional transportation policy boards allows me to work for Port Orchard for our local projects  as well as regional needs.  I represent Port Orchard on the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council (KRCC) and it’s Transportation Policy Board, the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) Transportation Policy Board and the Peninsula Regional Transportation Planning Organization (PRPTO).