How far do you want to go? Sound Transit asks public to help shape transit system expansion

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Now, it’s the public’s turn to sound off on the options for expanding the regional transit system. Today, Sound Transit officially kicked off the public comment period, going live with a new interactive website and questionnaire.

“It’s  time to come together as a region and decide how we should extend mass transit,” said Sound Transit Board Vice Chair and Bellevue City Council Member Connie Marshall at a morning news conference atop elevated light rail tracks overlooking Seattle’s rush hour traffic on I-5.

Together, Sound Transit and the Regional Transit Investment District (RTID) are working on an integrated plan for road and transit projects to address rising congestion as the region’s population grows by 1.2 million over the next 25 years. Sound Transit’s public comment period that gets underway today provides an opportunity to shape the transit projects that will go to voters in November 2007 as part of the plan.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the people of our region,” said Marshall. “Instead of commenting on decisions already made, everyone in the region can help shape what our future will look like. There’s no time to waste. As part of the transit expansions we need to move forward by extending the light rail tracks we’re standing on today to reach further east, north and south and move forward with other transit projects and services such as added commuter rail and ST Express bus service, more park-and-ride facilities and HOV access ramps.”

Sound Transit is offering a variety of methods for the public to get involved, starting with today’s launch of a new website featuring a detailed questionnaire, an interactive map and information on the three transit system expansion options. Starting in September Sound Transit and RTID, which is putting together a companion roads package, will hold a series of public open houses throughout the region (dates and locations to be announced) on the options for the combined transit/roads package.

“We need to hear what projects and what level of investment our region’s residents want,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg. “Today’s decisions will determine what kinds of communities and lifestyles we pass on to future generations.”

The online questionnaire and details on the three transit package options the Sound Transit Board has identified for public review are available at www.soundtransit.org/st2.

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