Council endorses long-term finance plan for transportation, Bel-Red projects

The Bellevue City Council has approved a long-term financing plan to fund key transportation projects and improvements needed to meet future growth in the Bel-Red area.

The 10-year plan for calls a variety of funding mechanisms to pay for the construction or expansion of five major arterials to improve access to the downtown and Bel-Red areas for transit, drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists. The two areas have been targeted by the city for more intense development to meet the state’s growth management requirements and reduce sprawl.

The city estimates the projects in total will cost an estimated $299 million.

The financing plan also would pay for:

* major enhancements to the city’s computerized traffic light system to improve traffic flows and reduce congestion on key arterials at peak travel times;

* a shuttle bus service for downtown; and

* construction of new bicycle and pedestrian pathways.

Adoption of the long-term plan comes at a time when transportation has been identified as the top concern citywide.

Council members are expected to finalize elements of the plan in coming weeks, including the specific financing mechanisms to be used. However, it is expected a combination of existing and new revenue sources will be utilized, including property taxes, impact fees and funds generated from local improvement areas.