By 2035, approximately 30 percent more people are expected to live within the Puget Sound region than in 2010. In the coming months, the Sound Transit Board will explore long-term options for expanding train and express bus services in response to rising demand and road congestion.
"In the next decade, Sound Transit will deliver more than 30 miles of light-rail extensions, increase south line commuter rail service and continue operating popular express bus routes. Updating the Long-Range Plan will define the options for where regional transit can go beyond the projects and services voters have approved," said Sound Transit Board Chair and Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy.
Voters in Central Puget Sound approved the formation of Sound Transit to develop a high-capacity transportation system for the region, which is home to about 40 percent of the state's residents. The Long-Range Plan, last updated in 2005, is the vision for how the system should grow over many decades. Preparing a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) to update the plan provides an opportunity to consider questions including: Which corridors should be identified or reconfirmed as priorities for potential future light-rail extensions; which corridors should be designated for potential high-capacity transit/bus rapid transit; should the region make more investments in commuter rail and where should the system provide improved parking facilities and access for pedestrians and bicyclists?
Sound Transit is seeking comments through November 25 online, in e-mail, mail or attending public meetings.
The current Long-Range Plan for high-capacity transit is part of Transportation 2040, an action plan for transportation in the central Puget Sound region for the next 30 years. By the year 2040, the Puget Sound Regional Council estimates the region is expected to grow by roughly 1.5 million people and support more than 1.2 million new jobs. All of these new people and new jobs are expected to boost demand for travel by about 40 percent.
Sound Transit is on schedule to complete a 50-mile regional light-rail system by 2023, which is forecasted to increase weekday ridership from 100,000 today to approximately 350,000 in 2030.