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A fifteen-member panel of citizen volunteers has been appointed by the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority Board to monitor and report on the performance of the RTA as it implements Sound Move - the Ten-Year Regional Transit System Plan approved by the region's voters in November. The Citizen Oversight Panel is an independent body charged with reviewing RTA performance against its commitments to the public to deliver the services and facilities outlined in Sound Move.

The Transit Authority Board committed to creating the panel in Sound Move and began the process to set up the panel less than a month after voters approved local funding for the plan in the November 5 general election. Invitations for letters of interest in serving on the Citizen Oversight Panel were mailed in early January to persons who had already informally expressed interest in serving on the panel and to jurisdictions, organizations and individuals who have been involved with the RTA. The RTA received 175 letters of interest.

Each boardmember reviewed the letters and was asked to submit up to three nominations for consideration. The board's Executive Committee - joined by four representatives of good government groups (Pat Matteson of the League of Women Voters of King County; Bob Roegner of the Municipal League of King County; Kurt Jacobson, a Tacoma civic activist; and Joella Campbell of the League of Women Voters, Snohomish County) - reviewed a slate of 41 nominees.

Fifteen candidates were recommended to, and approved by the board at its February 27 meeting. The panel members represent a variety of interests and disciplines and include two representatives from each of the five subareas in the RTA District and three at-large members. Panel members will serve without compensation for terms of either two or three years. The panel will determine its own meeting schedule and course of action, essentially providing a "citizen audit" of RTA's performance as the regional transit plan is implemented.

The Oversight Panel is one of many opportunities that will be available for citizens to become directly involved in the implementation of regional transit improvements, according to Edmonds City Councilmember Dave Earling, chair of the RTA's Public & Government Affairs Committee. "Given the strong showing of interest in participating in this rather specialized panel, I want people to know that this is only the first of many opportunities on the horizon, both through the RTA and within their own communities, for citizens to get involved in helping us implement Sound Move," Earling said.

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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.