March 14, 2024

Kilmer Announces $1.3 Million to Improve Safety and Enhance Mobility Across I-5 in Tacoma

TACOMA, WA – Today, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) announced that the City of Tacoma will receive $1.3 million in new federal funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Reconnecting Communities Pilot (RCP) and Neighborhood Access and Equity discretionary grant programs for increased safety and mobility options along Interstate 5 (I-5) in Tacoma.

“Infrastructure should be about connecting people to everyday destinations - not separating them from their community. In Tacoma, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is taking a step forward to connect folks to everyday destinations, including downtown, the port, schools, hospitals, and more,” said Rep. Kilmer. “By evaluating existing crossings, identifying opportunities to enhance non-motorized facilities on those crossings, and potentially increasing the number of crossings, the City of Tacoma will be able to make the streets and sidewalks safe and accessible for all those who walk, roll, or ride transit. Plus, having the federal government provide this grant funding means we’ll see improved connectivity and safety without the cost borne solely by local taxpayers. That’s a big win.”

“While the purpose of transportation is to connect, in too many communities’ past infrastructure decisions have served instead to divide,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Now the Biden-Harris administration is acting to fix that. Today we are proud to announce an unprecedented $3.3 billion to help 132 communities deliver better infrastructure that reconnects residents to jobs, health care, and other essentials.”

“I am thrilled to see this funding for our I-5 Crossings Study that recognizes the need to ensure our community has safe options for crossing the highway,” said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards. “Prioritizing the study of these crossings and investing in infrastructure ensures communities are safely connected and supports a more livable and vibrant community.”

I-5, a crucial north-south route that cuts through Tacoma’s heart, dividing the city and limiting access for many residents, especially those who are reliant on public transportation or choose not to drive. This division particularly affects access to downtown Tacoma, the Port of Tacoma, educational institutions, and health care facilities for individuals without personal vehicles.

To address this issue, federal funds have been to pinpoint necessary enhancements to ensure safe passage across I-5 for people of all ages and abilities, while also exploring opportunities for creating meaningful public spaces and expanding the urban tree cover. The investment will facilitate comprehensive planning, community engagement, and the development of conceptual designs focused on improving safety, broadening transportation options, and more.

In September, Rep. Kilmer wrote to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to strongly support new federal funding to improve safety and mobility options along I-5 in Tacoma.

The RCP in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has been combined with the newly established Neighborhood Access and Equity discretionary grant program in the Inflation Reduction Act. In this round of funding for the Reconnecting Communities Pilot and Neighborhood Access and Equity program, the Biden-Harris administration awarded 72 Planning Grants, 52 Capital Construction grants, and 8 Regional Planning Grants.

For more information on the Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods, the RCP, and the Neighborhood Access and Equity programs, including additional resources and information for interested applicants and stakeholders, click here.

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