The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Pullman City Council hears airport transit system

Council members approve two bids for projects, hears from Port of Whitman county representative.
Details of the planned transit route to and from Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport

The Pullman City Council reviewed a potential transit system to Pullman Moscow Regional Airport at their meeting on Tuesday.

Transit manager Wayne Thompson said he believes they are ready to move forward with a transit system to Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport. A Washington State Department of Transportation grant award of $586,780 was made last spring with the funding available through July 2025.

The three electric buses to be used will not be arriving until Spring 2025, Thompson said. The schedule for transportation would include four daily arrivals and four daily departures.

The plan is to serve all of the flights in the area with the bus system being discussed, he said. The buses would arrive 90 minutes before the flight and 30 minutes afterward for arriving flights.

The transit service is planned to start May 22, although that is not set in stone, Thompson said. They intend to begin discussions with the community on what services will look like next fall in a series of open house sessions.

Mayor Francis Benjamin said this service will only be running as transportation for flights and will not operate as another bus service.

Benjamin said construction for Project Downtown Pullman officially starts Monday. Businesses on Main St. will still be open.

Kara Riebold, Port of Whitman County executive director, said the port is focused on improving the quality of life for people in Whitman county. They try to do that through economic development, industrial real estate development and on-water recreational opportunities.

Riebold said last July, the port was selected selected to become the associate development organization for the county by the county commissioners. In this role, they have to report to the Department of Commerce on specific activities, including new business recruitment and sharing resources with business owners.

“We host economic development information meetings every other month where we invite elected officials from the towns, from the county to come and learn about what’s going on,” Riebold said.

Another piece of the work the Port has done has involved broadband. The Port received a $1.1 million grant to expand fiber to homes in Whitman County last May. They expanded fiber to Malden and Pine City last November.

The Port will also be working on a scaling facility and has plans to site the facility at Pullman Industrial Park, she said. They have conducted a feasibility study with 10 university staff and four private-sector firms.

City engineer Cara Haley said she was presenting a resolution to accept the low bid of East Slope Earthworks LLC for the Canyon View trail project. The project is to construct a 12-foot-wide new or rebuilt gravel trail along with maintenance and refinishing of the existing gravel trail in the vicinity of Conservation Park.

The bid is $270,525.50, a difference of about $35,000 from the contractor’s estimate. The approved resolution’s funding will be covered by the Parks and Paths Bond.

Haley said the next bid was for the Military Hill resurfacing project. This project addresses two roadway segments on Military Hill.

The bid from Motley-Motley Inc. is $655,854.22, a difference of about $66,000 from the original estimate, Haley said. The resolution was adopted.

Public Works Director Sean Wells said he wanted to discuss the change orders requested in relation to Project Downtown Pullman. They asked themselves if the requested change would significantly affect the project schedule, require outside agency review and approval and if it would significantly increase the project cost.

Based on the criteria, it is recommended the city accept seven of the comments, does not recommend 22 of them, and is working on or has no response to three, Wells said.

Matt Gillis, Welch Comer Vice President, said a few of the requests that Welch Comer recommends approving include a request for striped parking stalls, to strengthen the bike lane in the area between Pine St. Plaza and Main St. and to change the species of some of the street trees.

A few of the requests Welch Comer does not recommend include retaining all pavers up to the back of curb at Pine Street Plaza, deleting Alternate 6 from the plans and replacing the plaza with new concrete pavers following the current design, Gillis said.

Kirk Dahmen, parks and facilities director, said the city is currently working on the Pullman Veteran’s Memorial Park. 

Michael Sanchez, WSU landscape architecture professor, said the land is about 2.8 acres and the majority of the site will be retained as a natural area.

“The main portion of the site is the memorial plaza and the entry area,” Sanchez said. “The idea was to create an entry experience for the visitors that was separate from the parking.”

Benjamin said there will be a special meeting held with ASWSU on April 3. There will be no regular meetings on April 2 or 9.

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About the Contributor
JOSIAH PIKE, Evergreen news co-editor
Josiah is a sophomore broadcast journalism and broadcast production double major. He is from Lakewood, Washington and began working for the Evergreen in Fall 2021.