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7/1/2008



Rail News: Passenger Rail

Sound Transit obtains feedback on proposed ballot measure


Last November, Puget Sound-area voters turned down a roads and transit ballot measure that would have provided funds to significantly expand Sound Transit service. Now, the agency is coming back to the table with new proposals — and soliciting feedback to ensure their plans will be well accepted by voters.

In May, the agency sought input on three transit expansion options that could be placed on the ballot in either 2008 or 2010. Sound Transit received more than 6,000 online and phone responses, and more than 4,000 written responses.

The results: 91 percent of respondents said it’s extremely or somewhat urgent to expand mass transit, 81 percent said it’s urgent to add more light-rail service and 81 percent believed it’s urgent to add commuter-rail service.

The respondents also commented on two new options that Sound Transit could complete in 12 years, and a larger 20-year package that was part of last year’s unsuccessful measure. The 12-year options would cost 62 percent to 67 percent less than last year’s Proposition 1 because it would cover a smaller set of transit projects; the 20-year option would cost about one-third less than last year’s measure because it would only cover transit projects instead of both transit and road projects. The three options call for adding 18 to 50 miles of new Link light-rail service, as well as improving Sounder commuter-rail and ST Express regional bus service and facilities.

Many respondents (43 percent) favored the 20-year transit package, while some (31 percent) favored a 12-year plan. A majority (76 percent) favored a vote this year, while a minority (10 percent) wanted a 2010 vote.

Later this month, the board will determine whether to move forward with the ballot measure this year or hold off until 2010.  


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