Where do you want to go tomorrow?
How should Sound Transit's regional mass transit system be expanded to keep people moving in the years ahead? The answer will start coming into greater focus today with the release of detailed analyses of 81 potential bus and rail projects around the region.
"Today, we have the information we need to develop a specific plan for expanding the regional transit system and keep our commuters and economy moving," said Sound Transit Board Chair and Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg. "It's clear we don't have enough money to do it all, so now our task is to prioritize our spending and focus on projects that will make the biggest difference in people's lives."
Citizens can view the information on the potential projects for a future Sound Transit 2 (ST2) ballot measure on Sound Transit's website at www.soundtransit.org/st2. For each project, the information released today includes cost estimates and rider benefits, potential risks, and how it would tie in to the mass transit system that is operating today.
The projects include potential light rail extensions, expansions of express bus and commuter rail service, and potential capital projects such as new or expanded transit centers, park-and-ride facilities and freeway ramps for buses and carpools.
Over the last year Sound Transit has traveled the region asking the public how the system should expand, attending dozens of local meetings and holding more than 20 open houses. In each of Sound Transit's five subareas, local community representatives worked to narrow the initial list of more than 500 potential projects to 81. This list will be further narrowed based on the new information released today and on continued public outreach, including more open houses in early 2006. The ST2 website includes an online survey for people to tell Sound Transit what system expansions will benefit them most.
The area served by Sound Transit, already home to more than half the state's population, is expected to grow by 1.2 million residents in the next 25 years. This growth will continue to put major stress on the region's transportation system. Sound Transit is already moving more than 10 million riders yearly. Making smart investments will provide more alternatives to congestion and will continue to take pressure off our road system.
"Over the last 10 years, Sound Transit has built a lot of projects throughout the region," Ladenburg said. "We have a strong track record. Now our challenge is to develop a ST2 plan that delivers the most benefits for our commuters. We'll do it by closely examining alternatives and working with our local communities to keep people moving."
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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.