Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: sr 167

April
17th

Could SR 167 sink in the Columbia River?

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Out of the blue comes a distant political squabble that somehow threatens the most important transportation effort in the state – the Puget Sound Gateway Project.

Gov. Jay Inslee supports the Gateway, which would knit together state Route 167, Interstate 5 and state Route 509, eliminating bottlenecks and creating a bonanza of jobs in the process. The state House of Representatives is prepared to invest more than $1.25 billion in it.

But suddenly everything might hinge on a spat over light rail in Clark County. Read more »

March
2nd

There’s only one way to finish SR 167: Finish it

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

A six-mile strip of uncompleted highway has become the state’s biggest economic bottleneck. Fortunately, lawmakers now recognize that state Route 167 must be extended – at long last – from Puyallup to the Port of Tacoma.

The lingering debate is whether the $1.5 billion project should be tackled without enough money or as a single-lane “highway.” We hope the Legislature will recognize the futility – and the financial waste – of such half-measures.

That six-mile gap is the graveyard of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of jobs and opportunity. Phasing is the reason the gap exists.
SR 167 was originally intended to run south from Interstate 405 in Renton through the Kent Valley, then turn west at Puyallup and connect to Interstate 5 and the port. But the money ran out, six miles short, in the late 1980s.

Twenty-five years later, this final critical phase remains unfunded – and the state is paying dearly.

Lacking a corridor to the Kent Valley, I-405 and beyond, trucks from the Port of Tacoma are forced onto I-5 in Fife, congesting the freeway and getting themselves caught in that congestion.

This backup is a grave threat to the port, one of the state’s most powerful generators of payrolls. Pacific Rim shippers don’t have to send their freight through Tacoma or Seattle; if it takes too long to get their truck-borne cargoes to Interstate 90 – headed for Chicago and other big markets – they can switch to Vancouver, B.C., or Southern California.

That missing six miles of SR 167 is threatening jobs far beyond the port itself.
Read more »

Jan.
23rd

Finishing SR 167 should be high on delegation’s to-do list

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

When South Sound lawmakers talk about their legislative priorities, near the top is finishing state Route 167 – the six-mile Port of Tacoma bypass. But completing the SR 167 extension has been a priority for more than two decades. It’s time to stop talking about it and get moving on it.

With competition growing from Canadian ports and a widened Panama Canal threatening to take shipping business away, Washington lawmakers and local business interests recognize how important it is to get trucks quickly between the port and points east.

The Washington State Department of Transportation refers to the $1.5 billion SR 167 extension as “a critical missing link in the state’s highway network.” Besides moving trucks more efficiently, the freight corridor also would take a lot of big semis out of heavy Interstate 5 traffic, decreasing accidents and rush-hour gridlock. Read more »