Survey begins today to shape future Sound Transit investments

Sound Transit today asked Puget Sound residents to shape the future of mass transit in this region.
Postcards will start arriving in people’s mailboxes across the region today inviting ideas and views on improving transit through an online survey. The survey will help Sound Transit decide how best to tackle increasingly poor commuting conditions with the right expansions of regional light rail, commuter rail and express bus service and infrastructure.
Residents can take the survey through March 9 by visiting .
“Every year our region’s population grows by an estimated 50,000,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. “Rising congestion means frayed nerves, less time around the dinner table and more greenhouse gases. Taking this survey will help the region get moving with a transit expansion plan that has strong public support.”
In November 2007, voters turned down a large package of road and transit investments. Now, the Sound Transit Board of Directors is responding to the public’s support for voting on a transit-only measure by taking a renewed look at what transit service expansions would make the biggest and quickest improvements for commuters for the least cost. The survey will help shape the answers to vital questions like:
— How ambitious should a transit package be?
— What are the highest priorities for service expansions, ranging from light rail to regional express bus to commuter rail?
— How soon should a plan be brought to the voters for decision?
The results of the survey will be presented to the Sound Transit Board in mid-March as it continues discussing the content and timing of a future transit package.
The options under review span the entire region and focus on meeting current demand as well as future population and employment growth through a package of rail and express bus expansions targeting the right investments for the right corridors. The package will build on the regional transit system voters launched in 1996. Today that system carries more than 50,000 riders each day, a number that will more than double following the 2009 opening of light rail service between downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac International Airport. Sound Transit is working to break ground in 2008 on expanding light rail to the University of Washington with a federal grant and existing funding, a project that alone will increase light rail ridership by more than 70,000 each day.
Residents who prefer to take the survey in a written form rather than online can call 1-866-511-1398 to receive a copy by mail.