By Chris Hendrickson, Monitor
The city of Gold Bar has been awarded a $107,089 grant for street maintenance and repairs.
The funding, which comes from the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board, will be utilized to fund two separate overlay projects in the city which will be performed next year; one at First Avenue West and another at Timber Lane. The funding for the Transportation Improvement Board grant program comes from revenue generated by a three-cent portion of the statewide gas tax. Gold Bar was one of six municipalities in Snohomish County chosen to receive a grant.
The board awarded 103 agencies a total of $111.4 million in grant funding to provide for different street and sidewalk improvement projects throughout the state.
“The TIB is pleased to return gas tax dollars back to the local communities,” said Whatcom County Councilmember and Transportation Board Chair Sam Crawford in a press release. “These grants help bring dilapidated streets up to the current standard, making roads safer and more drivable for everyone.”
The grant applications are initiated by the city, at which point a TIB representative comes out and inspects the submitted roadways. The roads are assessed and graded based on a methodology which helps determine where the grant monies would be most beneficial.
Street maintenance is often a challenge for smaller municipalities.
“The street funds are generally the first funds that get cut out of the general fund,” said Gold Bar Public Works Director John Light.
Gold Bar has applied for and been awarded TIB funds in the past, most recently in 2008.
“If you haven’t had anything done in a five-year period of time you have a better chance than if you applied last year,” said Light.
The TIB is currently estimating that the work will be performed in July of 2014. Light explained that it will more likely take place in the fall, as the city will enter into an inter-local agreement with Snohomish County in an effort to accomplish the improvements in the most economical way possible.
The agreement provides for Snohomish County to complete the road overlays in conjunction with one of their own street maintenance projects.
The areas chosen to receive the overlay work are; First Avenue West from Smeltzer Road to Powell Lane and Timber Lane from 9th Street to Evergreen Way. Project specifics include a two-inch asphalt overlay to be applied at these locations.
Since 2001, Gold Bar has successfully obtained over $1.2 million in grant funding from the TIB which has been utilized for various street repairs throughout the city. Overlay and reconstruction projects have included portions of Lewis Street, May Creek Road, and several others.
“It’s a real good thing for smaller communities that struggle with their street funding,” said Light.