Expert Review Panel Concludes that Sound Transit 2 Plan Meets Requirements

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The independent Expert Review Panel (ERP) appointed by the state to review Sound Transit’s work on the ST2 Plan on Sept 13 issued the below news release on the completion of its work.

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SEATTLE - An independent Expert Review Panel has concluded that the Sound Transit Phase 2 (ST2) Plan for regional transit is based on sound methodologies and reasonable assumptions that are consistent with industry standards, and meets the Washington state requirements for highcapacity transit system planning. The ST2 plan will go to the voters in November 2007 as part of the “Roads & Transit” package with the Regional Transportation Investment District (RTID) ballot proposal.

The eight-member Expert Review Panel provided its conclusions in a letter to its appointing authorities— the governor, the chairs of the House and Senate transportation committees of the state legislature, and the Secretary of Transportation—along with the Chair of the Sound Transit Board and the Sound Transit CEO. The panel’s letter also noted cautions in three areas for implementing the ST2 Plan: the unprecedented level of construction activity expected in the region, the advisability of continued analysis of light rail on the I-90 bridge, and the importance of firming up formal agreements with local jurisdictions.

“Over the last 30 months, the panel has suggested a number of adjustments to Sound Transit’s planning methodologies and assumptions,” said Siim Sööt, the panel’s current chair and an expert in ridership forecasting. “The panel was pleased to see that many of these suggestions were incorporated into the final ST2 plan.”

The panel was appointed in November 2004 in accordance with state legislation (RCW 81.104.110). The panel’s role was to pose and assess critical questions, review key methodologies and assumptions in the Sound Transit 2 Plan, and ensure that the assumptions being used were appropriate and reasonable. The panel met eight times to review Sound Transit’s planning work, and hear from Sound Transit staff and consultants, and also from interested members of the public.

The panel members were selected from across the country to provide expertise spanning key technical areas. These include: project cost estimating, capital finance plan review, ridership forecasting, modal analysis, legal and political architecture of Sound Transit’s legislative charter,environmental impact statement preparation, local design and constructability, and transit operations and maintenance.

More information: ERP Web site Contact: John Howell, Expert Review Panel Administrator, 206-223-7660, ext. 102

Final Letter from the ERP to the Sound Transit Board: September 12, 2007

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Sound Transit’s regional network of express buses, commuter rail, light rail and transit facilities connects communities in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.