County Executive Ladenburg supports amended RTID plan, adds environmental goals

Tacoma, WA (June 8, 2007)- Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg yesterday expressed full support for the Regional Transportation Investment District (RTID) plan submitted earlier this week by the bipartisan coalition of county council members, according to a statement released yesterday.

Funding for the cross-base highway was recently removed from the RTID package after environmental groups argued construction of the highway would have a negative impact on natural area habitats. The amended plan designates $50 million for habitat improvements and non-motorized projects.
Ladenburg was especially complimentary of the $50 million earmarked for natural areas and the development of bike paths and walking trails as part of the RTID project, as well as the $5 million for enhancements to the cross-base highway.
In addition to the enhancement projects contained in the RTID plan, Ladenburg announced several new projects, including:
1. General Obligation Bond to protect farmland and open space
Pierce County will propose a $125 million bond for voter approval in early 2008 for the purchase of development rights for farmland and open space preservation. The protection of farmland and open space prevents sprawl and helps to reduce future green house gas emissions associated with conversion of farmland and open space to residential uses.
2. Green energy programs to off-set carbon emissions from county operations
Pierce County will spend $85,000 to purchase green power credits to promote clean energy and off-set green house gas emissions associated with energy usage at county facilities. The purchase of green power credits helps to fund power generation from climate friendly sources, such as wind power, and helps to reduce future green house gas emissions.
3. Urban forestry program with goal of planting 25,000 trees over five year period
Pierce County will spend $200,000 to develop an urban forestry program that will improve overall tree cover by planting trees along county roadways, within county parks, and at other sites in the community. These trees will shade and beautify our county while fighting climate change by removing carbon from the atmosphere.
4. Purchase Trailgate facility and improve portions of existing undeveloped Orangegate Park site for equestrian use
Spend $4.4 million to purchase the Trailgate facility and improve the Orangegate Park site in order to help enhance opportunities for equestrian activities in Pierce County and could off-set any reduction in equestrian activities associated with the construction of the cross-base highway. Improvements to Orangegate Park will provide better public access while allowing a large area of forested open space to be protected for many generations to come.
For the full article, visit the Tacoma Daily Index.