At a press conference today in Fremont, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn proposed $800,000 in supplemental budget spending to accelerate planning of two transportation projects. $500,000 would be spent to study the feasibility of a new Ship Canal crossing; $300,000 would be spent to accelerate design work on a University District to South Lake Union high capacity transit corridor. The funding would come from the $11.75 million the city saved by completing the $163 million Spokane Street Viaduct project under budget.

No, it's not exactly groundbreaking news. The current budget already includes $1,000,000 in 2014 and $1,000,000 in 2015 for the University District to South Lake Union corridor. The $300,000 McGinn proposes in 2013 would simply advance the planning project. And a new Ship Canal crossing has long been discussed, but the City Council failed to include funding for a study in the current budget.

But while the projects aren't new, the proposed funding would represent a bit of milestone, bringing every single major transit corridor in the city's Master Plan into the development phase. That's progress, if not exactly at the breakneck pace that a lot of transit advocates would like. And most importantly, it puts the city in a better position to compete for federal grants when they become available.