Friday, December 15, 2006

ST2 Plan Prepared to Leave the Station

Submitted by Paul Ellis

Yesterday Sound Transit board members considered a preliminary second-phase draft package, instructing staff to return a slightly revised package to them for adoption in January.

The draft package identifies an extensive array of regional transit system expansions forming the transit element of the Roads & Transit measure that will go to voters next November.
The option endorsed by the board is the most expensive but also provides the greatest amount of funding for extension of the agency's light rail system. Under this proposal, light rail would be extended from Sea-Tac Airport to the Port of Tacoma. The package would fund preliminary engineering, permitting and some real estate acquisition for further extension to the Tacoma downtown area, which would be completed subject to available funding; board members are hoping funding will be able to accommodate a light rail extension to the Tacoma Dome. Other projects identified in Pierce County include additional parking at the commuter rail stations in Puyallup and Sumner. The light rail extension and commuter rail parking were identified last year by RAMP as priority projects for Pierce County.

After the official board vote in January, another round of public meetings will take place, which means proposals could be revised prior to the November election.

Paul Ellis is lead staff for RAMP; an employee of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, Ellis led the Pierce County Transportation Advisory Committee (PCTAC), the community's largest transportation planning effort.

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