Local

Largest South Sound stimulus projects

The following is a list of the 20 largest stimulus awards in Pierce, Thurston and South King counties, in order from largest to smallest. Unless otherwise indicated, estimates of jobs and money spent are based on progress as of February 2010 and don't include nonstimulus funds spent. Job estimates come from the recipients.

1. Interstate 5, High Occupancy Vehicle lanes from Port of Tacoma Road to King County line

Stimulus award: $35.4 million.

Spent: $8.6 million

Status: Began August 2009; scheduled completion fall 2011.

Jobs created/retained: 160 as of January

Purpose: Add carpool lanes along Interstate 5 through Fife.

2. Port of Tacoma, Lincoln Avenue grade separation

Stimulus award: $15.4 million

Spent: $5.4 million.

Status: Began October 2009; scheduled completion spring 2011.

Jobs created/retained: Estimated to create 228 full-time construction jobs by completion.

Purpose: Carry Lincoln Avenue up and over railroad tracks, decreasing traffic delays at the crossing.

3. General Construction Inc., Pier 23 replacement

Stimulus award: $12.6 million

Spent: $150,000

Status: 1 percent complete; scheduled for completion April 2011

Jobs created/retained: None reported between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31.

Purpose: Replace wooden pier in Tacoma that the U.S. Army Reserve uses to train transportation troops. A spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the pier was “beyond its useful life.”

4. Tacoma Housing Authority, Salishan rental housing

Stimulus award: $11.8 million

Spent: $569,410

Status: Began February 2010; scheduled for completion February 2011.

Jobs created/retained: Estimated to create 272 total jobs by completion, though not all full-time. 25 jobs so far.

Status: Build 91 units of low-income rental housing. Part of the final phase of redevelopment for Salishan housing project.

5. Pierce Transit, Capital and Operating Assist Formula Grant

Stimulus award: $11.4 million

Spent: $4.4 million

Status: Hybrid bus purchase and compressor construction scheduled for completion late 2010.

Jobs created/retained: None reported between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31.

Purpose: Preventive maintenance for buses ($4.4 million); construction of a new compressed natural gas compressor station and backup power generator ($1.6 million); and purchase of nine hybrid buses ($5.4 million).

6. Nisqually Indian Tribe, corrections facility

Stimulus award: $10.7 million

Spent: $100,000

Status: Set to begin in spring 2010 and finish in August 2011.

Jobs created/retained: Will create 40 jobs during construction, plus 70 staff positions once facility opens, according to tribe.

Purpose: Build a correctional facility on tribal land to include a 108-bed special-needs housing unit, two 96-bed dorm-style housing units and a support services building.

7. Interstate 5, Martin Way to 48th Street panel replacement

Stimulus award: $10.5 million

Spent: $66,000

Status: Not started; set to begin in April 2010 and end in August 2010.

Jobs created/retained: 86 direct and indirect jobs to be created.

Purpose: Replace more than 200 concrete panels along I-5 between Lacey and Tacoma, causing lane closures throughout the summer.

8. Wade Perrow Construction LLC, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Museum renovation

Stimulus award: $9.5 million

Spent: $514,900

Status: 1.5 percent complete; completion expected Oct. 30.

Jobs created/retained: 2 so far.

Purpose: Remove asbestos, bring into compliance with seismic codes and add 14 training classrooms on upper floors.

9. Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Tribal Justice Center

Stimulus award: $7.9 million

Spent: None

Status: Construction not started, in planning stages.

Jobs created/retained: 200 expected by completion.

Purpose: Build a 28,000-square-foot justice center with courtrooms and jail facilities, on Puyallup tribal land.

10. Interstate 5 and state Route 16, Eastbound Nalley Valley Viaduct

Stimulus award: $7.8 million

Spent: $1.3 million

Status: Scheduled to begin in fall 2011 and be completed in 2013.

Jobs created/retained: 11.45 reported between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31.

Purpose: Build a new interchange eastbound between I-5 and state Route 16. Will begin after completion of new westbound interchange, now under construction.

Next-largest awards

11. City of Tacoma, McMillin Reservoir: $6 million loan awarded, $2 million spent.

12. Tacoma Pierce County Employment and Training Consortium: $6 million awarded, roughly $4 million spent.

13. Sound Transit, M Street to Lakewood track and signal: $4.6 million awarded, $4.6 million spent.

14. Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council: $4.4 million awarded, $2.5 million spent.

15. Pierce County, energy efficiency and conservation block grant: $4.4 million awarded, $26,730 spent as of end of January.

16. Tacoma Housing Authority, multifamily housing upgrade: $4.1 million grant, $650,000 spent.

17. City of Olympia, Yauger Park Regional Stormwater Facility: $3.7 million awarded*, $400,000 spent.

18. Port of Tacoma, port security grant program: $3.4 million awarded, none spent.

19. City of Tacoma, LARIAT program (LESA Accelerated Response using Integrated Analysis and Technology): $3.3 million awarded, $41,000 spent.

20. Pierce County, low-income weatherization assistance: $3.1 million awarded, $500,000 spent.

Sources: Recovery.gov, USAspending.gov, interviews with award recipients. *Olympia’s Yauger Park project is now expected to cost only $2.5 million because of lower-than-expected construction costs. The state is rerouting the extra money to other clean water projects throughout the state.

A note about jobs

The inconsistent job numbers listed here are a reflection of the way they were reported by recipients. Federal reports often didn’t list the number of jobs associated with local grants if the money was part of a larger award distributed through a state agency; only statewide job numbers were listed in those cases.

Then, when The News Tribune contacted grant recipients individually to ask about jobs created or retained, most reported them in different formats. For instance, some recipients reported “jobs created” to include all part-time jobs on a construction site, while others calculated what those hours of work would equal in full-time positions.

The federal government also switched how it calculates jobs created or retained. Between February and September 2009, it asked grant recipients to count only full-time jobs they believed would have been lost or wouldn’t exist without stimulus money. Job estimates stretched over multiple fiscal quarters.

But for the period between October 2009 and December 2009, federal officials allowed award recipients to report all full-time jobs funded with stimulus money, even if those jobs would have otherwise been saved and funded through another source.

The federal Office of Financial Management said in a December memorandum that it was too subjective and difficult to ask award recipients to speculate whether a job would have existed without stimulus funding.

The memo also said that asking recipients to calculate jobs over multiple quarters was too confusing.

Stimulus job reports in upcoming quarters will continue to follow the new rules.

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