Meetings offer chance to review project and service recommendations

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ST invites public to learn about proposed responses to recession's $3.9 billion funding gap

Sound Transit will host open houses around the region for community members to review proposed responses to the national recession's impact on agency revenues.

Agency revenues currently expected through 2023 are $3.9 billion, or 25 percent, lower than forecasted in 2008, requiring difficult choices during the 2011 budget process.

Major mass transit expansions are on their way in the years ahead. However, it is no longer possible to complete the Sound Transit 2 Plan within 15 years. The Sound Transit Board last week received recommendations from CEO Joni Earl on options for realigning agency projects and services in response to the lower revenues.

The open houses offer opportunities for community members to learn about proposed measures and offer views. A public hearing on Nov. 4 will offer a formal opportunity for the public to comment on Sound Transit's Proposed 2011 Budget, Draft 2011 Transit Improvement Plan and Draft 2011 Service Implementation Plan. The budget and plans are scheduled to be adopted in December.

Open Houses

5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19
Everett Station-Mt. Baker Room
3201 Smith Ave., Everett, WA 98201

5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20
Bellevue City Hall-Concourse
450 110th Ave. N.E., Bellevue, WA 98009

5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26
Freighthouse Square-Rainier Room
602 E. 25th St., Tacoma, WA 98421

5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27
Burien Library-Multi-purpose Room
400 S.W. 152nd St., Burien, WA 98166

10-11:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 4
Union Station-Great Hall
401 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104

Public Hearing

12-1:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4
Union Station-Ruth Fisher Board Room
401 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104

The Proposed 2011 Budget, Draft 2011 Transit Improvement Plan and a staff presentation summarizing the proposed project and service realignment in response to the recession are available at the below link. The Draft 2011 Service Implementation Plan is scheduled to be released on Oct. 8.
About-Us/Financial-Documents.xml

Comments can be e-mailed to budget2011@soundtransit.org regarding budget issues or to mailto:fastride@soundtransit.org for service issues. U.S. Mail can be sent to Sound Transit at Union Station, 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA, 98104-2826.

Under Sound Transit's subarea equity framework, each of Sound Transit's five geographic subareas faces a different financial picture. Revenues collected within each subarea are used to fund projects and services that have been identified to benefit that subarea's residents. The recession impacts are worst in the South King County subarea, where forecasted revenues are down about 31 percent. Projected revenues are down 26 percent in East King County, 28 percent in Snohomish County, 26 percent in Pierce County and 16 percent in north King County, which includes Seattle.

The Proposed Budget reflects an initial staff review to start the process of realigning the overall program. The recommendations for each subarea give priority to projects and services that:

  • Best achieve the stated goals of the voter approved regional transit plans;
  • Are necessary to maintain the existing system in a state of good repair; and
  • Are already under or near construction.

Staff is also recommending projects and services for delay, deferral (suspension) or reductions based on the following:

  • Lowest projected ridership;
  • Lowest utility in achieving the stated goals of the voter-approved plans, including undefined discretionary programs not critical to build-out the capital infrastructure or daily operation of the regional high capacity system;
  • Reserves or contingencies for projects near completion that are no longer necessary; and
  • Projects contingent on funding or commitments from other partners where funding is not currently included in any partner plans.