Sound Transit requests second-phase regional transportation goals from city

As Sound Transit prepares to move into its second phase of long-range transportation planning, the agency is looking to city...

As Sound Transit prepares to move into its second phase of long-range transportation planning, the agency is looking to city leaders to promote discussion that will shape goals and objectives impacting transportation improvements in the community, according to a presentation by a Sound Transit official during the Tacoma City Council Environment and Public Works committee meeting on July 13.

“The fun part is about to start as we set the big-picture vision of how the transit system will grow,” said Sound Transit Chief Communications Officer Ric Ilgenfritz, who attended Wednesday’s meeting to explain the agency’s process for its second phase of long-range planning, and encourage the mayor and members of the city council to solicit and provide input.

The Sound Transit Board approved a revised long-range plan — named Sound Transit 2 — July 7 that builds upon the existing transit system while establishing priorities for the next set of investments in regional transportation. Those priorities include extending light rail and commuter rail lines; adding more express bus transit facilities and centers, or adding new routes; increasing hours of operation for all services; and determining the best technologies for the next phase.

According to Ilgenfritz, Sound Transit plans to draft a project list by September and present a transportation package to its board next spring. If the Sound Transit 2 package is approved by the board, a ballot measure to fund the plan would go to voters in November of next year. The agency is now in the process of meeting with regional jurisdictions to develop Sound Transit 2 with input from the public, local cities and counties, elected officials, civic groups, planning groups, and transit partners.

At the July 13 meeting, Ilgenfritz presented a list of Tacoma-area Sound Transit 2 projects that includes adding a double track section for the Sounder that runs from Tacoma Dome Station to Reservation Junction; improvements to the Sounder track that would increase train speeds in the corridor between Tacoma and Seattle; Tacoma Dome Station modifications in relation to Link Light Rail; adding service on the Federal Way / Bellevue Route 565 to include Tacoma; and new Link Light Rail service that would extend from Tacoma Dome Station to Federal Way.

“This project list is only meant to be a conversation-starter,” said Ilgenfritz.

Sound Transit 2 stems from the agency’s desire to meet future growth and transportation demands. According to Sound Transit, Puget Sound is expected to grow by 1.2 million people over the next 20 years.

Councilmember Julie Anderson asked if Sound Transit would be reaching out directly to the Tacomans for input, or if that was an effort that the Environment and Public Works committee would need to manage.

Ilgenfritz indicated that Sound Transit planned to conduct numerous public meetings with chambers of commerce, rotary clubs, and labor groups in order to solicit input and feedback. “We would gladly take feedback from meetings you may be having,” Ilgenfritz added.

For more information about Sound Transit 2, visit http://www.soundtransit.org.

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