Light rail's fading promise: Sound Transit hosts open house

Sound Transit seeks public input on transportation plans in South King County. - Courtesy photo
Sound Transit seeks public input on transportation plans in South King County.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

With the promise of light rail service in Federal Way slowly fading, the region's transit authority is looking at other ideas to increase transit service for the area.

Sound Transit (ST) will be holding an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 13 at Truman High School, 31455 28th Ave. S., to discuss ideas for extending high-capacity transit service to South King County.

“South King County residents can help shape vital investments for a future marked by increased congestion and increased demand for fast and reliable transit,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy in a news release.

“Our financial challenges in the wake of the national recession make it more important than ever for citizens to come together. This process will not only define what the agency builds with current funding but help us solve funding challenges so we can go further.”

According to ST, “the public’s involvement will help identify the best investments under available funding.” Citing the fact that the “national recession’s reduction of local tax revenues” has “significantly impacted” ST’s funding, it appears now that the regional transit authority has scrapped plans to extend light rail service south into the Federal Way area.

According to ST, “funding forecasts show it is within the agency’s reach to extend light rail to the Kent/Des Moines area in the 2023 timeframe,” but “does not have sufficient resources to extend light rail south of Kent/Des Moines.”

It’s hoped that this process of “alternative scoping,” will “establish a shovel-ready plan for extending service further southward towards South 272nd Street and the Federal Way Transit Center”.

Those unable to attend the meeting can find additional information, meeting materials, and submit comments online at Residents can email, or by writing Kent Hale, Sound Transit, 401 S. Jackson Street, Seattle, WA 98104. Public comments for this phase must be received by Nov. 19.


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