Citizen Oversight Panel Releases Comprehensive 8-Year Review of Sound Move
The Citizen Oversight Panel (COP) appointed to monitor Sound Transit's performance released its Sound Move Year 8 report today. The tenor of the report is positive and the Panel finds that "the vision of an integrated, region-wide, customer-friendly public transportation system is on the way to being realized."
The Year 8 report offers numerous findings on specific aspects of the Sound Move program and its implementation in the last eight years. Many Sound Move capital projects were insufficiently scoped and the early Sound Transit staff and Board made errors in managing and overseeing the programs. Today, Sound Transit has provided travel alternatives with the addition of commuter rail between Tacoma-Seattle and Everett-Seattle and by adding fast, frequent ST Express bus service on nineteen routes connecting major centers. Sound Transit has now demonstrated many times over that once its projects were fully scoped and detailed baseline estimates were completed, it has performed well in bringing in projects within budget.
The report includes a section on lessons learned and recommendations for the future. For example, COP questions the sustainability of subarea equity, the principle that geographic subareas must receive benefits proportional to the revenues generated in their areas. For some regional facilities that benefit more than one subarea, COP finds that determining equitable costs and benefits will be more challenging in the future. The Panel recommends that the Sound Transit Board revisit subarea equity policy and evaluate whether it will allow the effective development and funding of the long-range plan.
The report also finds that strong management and mature agency skills were not created overnight. Chair Larry Shannon said, "It took five years from start-up to the time Sound Transit was fully effective in managing the billion-dollar program." The report cautions leaders in the Puget Sound region to preserve and nurture this knowledge base and not to assume that every new program needs a new agency to manage it.
The Citizen Oversight Panel, an independent body comprised of 15 volunteer members from throughout the Sound Transit district, has been meeting since 1997. This is its most comprehensive review to date of Sound Move.
View the full report, including its findings and lessons learned, along with the COP's previous reports.
COP Facilitator: Kathy Elias, (206) 325-1129
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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.