Sound Transit, the Puget Sound region’s mass transportation system that serves 100,000 weekday riders, is projected to grow to 350,000 riders by 2030. Existing taxes are committed through the 2030s to fund the planned extensions of light rail service and other high-capacity options.
The Sound Transit Board of Directors is seeking public input through Nov. 25 as part of the scoping process to update the agency’s long-range plan that will define any new expansion beyond 2023 that will require new revenue sources. The plan was last revised in 2005.
“The long-range plan is really the blueprint for mass transit systems in the tri-county region,” said Kimberly Reason, a spokesperson for Sound Transit. “In order for something to be included on a future ballot measure, we’re going out to the public to update the 2005 long-range plan and to ask what the public thinks should be included in the updated plan.”
Reason said the agency started the process Oct. 25. For Pierce County residents, a public meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 18 at the Tacoma Convention Center.
“In addition to the public meetings, there is an online survey for people to complete,” Reason said. “It’s a real fast survey.”
Reason said the survey went live on the Sound Transit website on Oct. 25, and there were 6,000 responses within four to five days.
“People are really interested in mass transit,” she said. “Now that the link light rail is up and running, they have an example of what mass transit can look like, and how it can benefit the region.”
Those who submit public comments are asked to consider the following questions:
• Which corridors should be identified and reconfirmed as priorities for potential future light rail extensions?
• Which corridors should be designated for potential high-capacity transit/bus transit?
• Should the region make more investments in commuter rail?
• Where should the system provide improved parking facilities and access for pedestrians and bicyclists?
The agency serves Pierce, King and Snohomish counties. In the coming months, it plans to “explore long-term options for expanding train and express bus services,” according to a Sound Transit news release.
One report shows that, by 2035, 30 percent more people are expected to live in the Puget Sound region than in 2010.
“In the next decade, Sound Transit will deliver more than 30 miles of light rail extensions, increase south line commuter rail service and continue operating popular express bus routes,” said Pat McCarthy, the Pierce County executive who serves as the Sound Transit board chair. “Updating the long-range plan will define the options where regional transit can go beyond the projects and services voters have approved.”
Have your say
An online survey can be completed at www.soundtransit.org/LongRangePlan. Comments can be emailed to LongRangePlan@soundtransit.org or mailed to Sound Transit, Attn: James Irish, 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104. From 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, a public-comment meeting will be held at the Federal Way Community Center, 876 S. 333rd St. From 5:30 to 8 p.m. Monday, a public-comment meeting will be held at the Tacoma Convention Center, 1500 Broadway.Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew.