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Sound Transit to hold public hearing in Federal Way on mass transit future

Sound Transit will host a series of six public hearings and open houses around the region, including one in Federal Way on July 16 at Truman High School. The Sound Transit board seeks public input on the future of mass transit. - Contributed photo
Sound Transit will host a series of six public hearings and open houses around the region, including one in Federal Way on July 16 at Truman High School. The Sound Transit board seeks public input on the future of mass transit.
— image credit: Contributed photo

The Sound Transit board recently called for more public input on the future of mass transit as the agency published a draft supplemental environmental impact statement in preparation for updating the regional transit long-range plan.

The updated plan will serve as the blueprint for future regional mass transit measures after more than 30 miles of voter-approved light rail expansions are complete in 2023. The region’s mobility and economy depend on moving more people on mass transit as its population climbs nearly a third by 2040.

Details on the draft statement, including the full document, are available at soundtransit.org/longrangeplan.

The comment period for the statement will extend through July 28. On July 8, Sound Transit will kick off a series of six public hearings and open houses around the region.

The public hearing in Federal Way will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 16 at Truman High School, 31455 28th Ave. S.

In addition to the public hearings, there are also several methods for the public to provide feedback through July 28:

• Email comments to LongRangePlan@soundtransit.org

• Mail comments to Sound Transit, Attn: Karin Ertl, 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104

• Take an online survey at soundtransit.org/longrangeplan

Last fall, when Sound Transit kicked off the update process, more than 12,000 residents provided input on regional transit priorities and what possible changes Sound Transit should study. Those comments helped shape the draft statement. After considering additional comments and preparing a final statement, the Sound Transit board plans to update the long-range plan in December.

Mass transit’s critical role in the regional transportation system

In some of the region’s most congested areas, transit is the most realistic option for significantly increasing the transportation system’s capacity to move people and freight. Transit helps everyone by moving thousands of people who would otherwise drive. Congestion-free commuting options also protect our environment and improve our regional economy. An effective transportation system makes it more attractive for businesses to locate and expand here.

The current long-range plan for high-capacity transit is part of Transportation 2040, an action plan for transportation in the central Puget Sound region for the next 30 years. By the year 2040, the Puget Sound Regional Council estimates the region is expected to grow by roughly 1.5 million people and support more than 1.2 million new jobs. All of these new people and new jobs are expected to boost demand for travel by about 40 percent.

Sound Transit currently delivers more than 100,000 rides each weekday on Link light rail, Sounder commuter rail and ST Express buses. The agency is on schedule to complete a 50-mile regional light rail system by 2023.

• 2016: Service opens north to Capitol Hill and the University of Washington, and south to South 200th Street in SeaTac. The University Link project will open six to nine months ahead of schedule and is approximately $150 million under budget.

• 2021: Service opens between the University of Washington and Northgate

• 2023: Service opens east to Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond’s Overlake area; north to Lynnwood; and south to Kent/Des Moines

These funded expansions and rising demand are forecasted to increase Sound Transit’s weekday ridership from 100,000 today to approximately 350,000 in 2030.

The Sound Transit board will decide whether and when to initiate a ballot measure for further expansions. The majority of existing taxes are committed through the 2030s for operating current services and building the extensions that are now underway. Any significant new expansion before the 2030s will require new revenue sources.

Updating the long-range plan will help set the stage to explore future funding options.

Questions can be directed to 206-903-7000 or LongRangePlan@soundtransit.org.

 

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