Sound Transit Board welcomes Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson

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Leader's transit experience will strengthen the agency's continued focus on critical state-regional partnerships to keep people and the economy moving

The Sound Transit Board today welcomes its newest member: recently appointed Washington State Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson.

"With a new governor and transportation secretary, we are entering the next chapter of the partnership to build an effective system that enables people to move around the region on fast and reliable trains and buses," said Sound Transit Board Chair and Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. "We look forward to working together to ensure that economic growth and environmental sustainability don't lose out to gridlock."

Peterson previously served Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber as Sustainable Communities and Transportation Advisor and is the former chair of the Clackamas County Commission.

"Having strong transit partners that provide reliable and robust service is critical to ensuring our entire transportation system has the capacity to move people and goods efficiently," said Secretary Peterson. "I am looking forward to joining the Sound Transit Board and taking part in important discussions about the agency's future, the partnership with WSDOT, and how together we can help spur economic development and improve the quality of life for Puget Sound residents."

"I know Secretary Peterson will be a great addition to the Sound Transit board," said Governor Inslee. "Lynn shares my vision to develop a 21st century multi-modal transportation system that is cost-effective, connects workers to jobs, reduces carbon emissions, and fosters safe and healthy communities." 

In Oregon, Peterson helped manage several of the state's transportation initiatives such as the Willamette Valley Passenger Rail Plan, Kitzhaber's 10-year Energy Action Plan including Oregon's portion of the Electric Highway from B.C. to Baja and acceleration of commercial fleet turnover to alternative fuels, and more.

Peterson joins the Sound Transit Board at a critical time for shaping the future of regional transit.

In the coming decade, Sound Transit will respond to fast-rising transit demand by working to deliver more than 30 miles of light rail extensions despite a 30 percent reduction in revenues due to the national recession. These extensions to the north, east and south all require intensive partnerships to access state-owned right of ways. They will dramatically increase transportation capacity in the state's most congested corridors. However, the recession has required Sound Transit to cancel or put on hold voter-approved projects and services. That includes cancelling more than half of the ST Express regional bus service expansions that voters approved in 2008, leaving no funding in place to meet increased demand in the years ahead.

In February the Sound Transit Board directed staff to move forward with planning for a future Sound Transit 3 measure, including work that will get underway this fall to solicit public input on updating the agency's Long Range Plan. The Sound Transit Board could choose to submit a Sound Transit 3 measure to voters in 2016 or thereafter for further mass transit expansions.

In 1996 the voters of the Central Puget Sound Region formed Sound Transit to establish a regional transit system linking communities with light rail, commuter rail and express bus services, working closely with local transit agencies and in concert with land use plans. The Sound Transit District encompasses the urban areas of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, including more than 50 cities and more than 40 percent of the state's population.

Under state law, the 18-member Sound Transit Board of Directors includes the Secretary of Transportation in addition to 17 locally elected officials appointed from the ranks of the county and city councils within the district. The district's population is expected to increase approximately 17 percent by 2030.