PSRC gives final OK to Kitsap centers

With little fanfare, the Puget Sound Regional Council’s executive board last week approved including South Kitsap Industrial Area and Silverdale in its list of centers.

The decision was almost assured after the two proposed centers gained the blessing of two key PSRC committees. Nonetheless, the formal certification means Kitsap County can start making plans with a $90 million in transportation monies now available to those two areas.

“I’m relieved,” said Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council Executive Director Mary McClure. “I suspect the policy board will be as well.”

Although the KRCC was responsible for drawing up the proposal and shopping it around to the county, cities and tribes, it will be up to the county to go after the newly available funding. As approved regional centers, SKIA and Silverdale join a elite group of only 32 members with exclusive access to a large pot of federal money.

Previously, the two areas had to compete with essentially every city and industrial area in four counties for a much smaller pot of money.

Until last week’s decision, Bremerton was the only regional center in Kitsap County.

Even though the competition for the transportation dollars opens this spring — the funding process runs on a two-year cycle — it doesn’t look like SKIA will be up for anything yet. Kitsap County Commissioner Jan Angel, who represents South Kitsap, said she hasn’t started stumping for SKIA-based programs because, frankly, she wouldn’t know what to stump for.

Although SKIA — and industrial center planned for the area surrounding Bremerton National Airport in South Kitsap — was approved by the county last year, numerous details are still being worked out.

For example, the county and the Port of Bremerton, which owns the airport and a lot of land covered by SKIA, are still working out the rules under which SKIA will be developed. Until that’s done, Angel said there’s really no reason to start planning major transportation improvements for that region.

“We have to get our plan down for SKIA before we know how we’re going to develop out there,” she said.

Silverdale, since it already exists as a full-fledged population center, may be a different case.

Even though nothing formal has been announced, Angel said Commissioner Patty Lent, who represents Central Kitsap, has been working to snag some of the centers money for Waaga Way improvements.

Lent, who has been out of the area for the past week, was not available for comment.

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