Pierce Transit approves annual budget

The Pierce Transit Board of Commissioners voted Dec. 10 to approve next year’s annual budget. Priorities in the approved $196 Million budget include investments in public safety, congestion relief and service improvements for a growing ridership. According to Pierce Transit, between October 2006 to October 2007, the agency experienced an 11 percent increase in usage of services.
Highlights from the Pierce Transit 2008 annual budget:
— Hiring of 24 full-time Security Officers, replacing 13 contracted positions, for site and onboard security presence and emergency preparedness.
— Adding three Pierce County Sheriff Deputies to serve as Transit Police Officers. The Transit Police Department will be fully staffed with four more officers in 2009, for a total of eight officers.
— Deploying wireless closed circuit television cameras on the buses allowing police to see and hear activity inside buses while they are in motion.
— Deploying the new CAD/AVL (Computer Aided Dispatch/Automatic Vehicle Locator) system, allowing the buses to be computer dispatched, paving the way for improved radio coverage, interoperability with regional emergency responders, and future system expansion.