Federal spending package includes $1 million for Bay Street project

The city has secured a portion of the $1.7 trillion federal spending package that will be used to fortify downtown Port Orchard in years to come.

President Biden is expected to sign the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2023 by year’s end that will fund the remainder of the fiscal year through Sept. 30 in order to avoid a government shutdown. Included in the package is $1 million in funding for the design phase of the Highway 166/Bay Street reconstruction project, which is intended to address flooding and transportation issues.

House Rep. Derek Kilmer advocated for funding. He said for Port Orchard, the Bay Street project is vital to the “revitalization” of downtown. “It will serve as a catalyst for growth and vitality for the local economy – and improve community resilience in the face of flooding,” he said.

Bay Street serves as both the main road in downtown Port Orchard and an arterial corridor connecting Highway 16 between the city and surrounding South Kitsap communities. However, the road is also subject to severe flooding during heavy rains. Just this week, businesses, vehicles and homes sustained damage from King Tides brought on by strong winds, rain and snowmelt.

The project aims to reconstruct a segment of the city’s street at a higher elevation to account for rising sea levels and flooding from it. The project is expected to provide accommodation for all modes of travel, providing cyclists with on-road connections to routes such as the Bay Street Pedestrian Pathway and reduced traffic speed and improved lighting for walkers.

Kilmer said he was happy to see the package passed. “The federal government should be a partner in projects like this so that the costs don’t fall on the backs of local taxpayers,” he said.