Sound Transit board ok's plan to pursue the purchase of buses for Regional Express transit system

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The board of directors for Sound Transit - the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority - voted yesterday to move forward with a plan to negotiate for the purchase of up to 175 buses for the agency's three-county Regional Express bus transit system. The board action directs staff to proceed with negotiations for the possible purchase of buses under existing purchase options through King County Metro with Gillig Corporation, and through Community Transit with New Flyer Industries. Because it takes up to 18 months for delivery of new buses, the decision keeps Sound Transit on schedule for implementing new Regional Express bus service in late 1999. 

At the suggestion of Pierce County Executive Doug Sutherland, the board also voted to investigate the possible future use of alternative-fuel buses by Sound Transit. The board action calls for working with the Community Transit, Everett Transit and King County Metro to determine the three transit agencies' level of interest in a potential addition of buses using different technologies. It also directs staff to work with Pierce Transit on a separate procurement for buses fueled by compressed natural gas for use on Regional Express routes in Pierce County. Pierce Transit already has successfully incorporated compressed natural gas buses in to its bus fleet. 

The Regional Express bus transit system will connect the major metropolitan areas of Bellevue, Everett, Tacoma and Seattle with other cities and numerous neighborhoods throughout the three-county region with 20 new fast, limited-stop bus routes. Along with Regional Express, Sound Transit is underway with creating two rail-based transit systems: the 81-mile Sounder commuter rail running from Everett to Tacoma/Lakewood; and Link light rail, connecting the cities of Seattle, Tukwila and SeaTac, and downtown Tacoma with the Tacoma Dome commuter station. 

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