Transport for seniors, project delivery and the 2015 legislature

Over $200,000 will be available to expand transportation services for seniors and the disabled within King County next year – part of $4.4 million in special needs funds the region’s Transportation Policy Board will consider next week.

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Beyond the Borders helps eligible Pierce County residents access public transportation, medical services, employment, shopping, and social activities. It’s slated to receive over $1 million in FTA funds.

The projects recommended for funding were ranked on their merits over the past few months.

The board will also review the region’s efforts to maximize federal transportation funds through improved project management – PSRC works with jurisdictions to ensure that the region meets or beats deadlines for the use of federal funds.

With the 2015 state legislature set to convene on January 12th, the board will also finalize its transportation recommendations to legislators.

The region’s top priorities include: a comprehensive statewide transportation package and new authority to place ST3 on the ballot in 2016.

The Executive Board will make the final call on the recommendations on January 25th.

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A new regional transit map

The Sound Transit Board adopted a new long-range plan for regional rapid transit last week and will seek authority from the state legislature for a 2016 ballot measure.

Sound Transit's new long-range plan map.

Sound Transit’s new long-range plan map.

The new plan outlines system expansion beyond the currently funded plan expected to be finished in 2023.

Highlights of the new plan include:

  • Light rail to Ballard, Everett, Issaquah, DuPont, and West Seattle.
  • Commuter rail on the eastside and to DuPont.
  • High capacity transit to Orting and South Tacoma.

Sound Transit will begin to develop a more detailed system plan based on these corridors for approval by the voters.

PSRC will work closely with Sound Transit to certify that the specific investments proposed support the regional transportation policies and are reflected in regional plans.

Information on the Sound Transit’s request for local funding authority is available here.

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Larsen leading effort to focus on bicycle and pedestrian safety

Washington Representative Rick Larsen is working with the Government Accountability Office to find ways to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety nationally.

The new protected bike lane on Second Avenue greatly improved bicycle safety in downtown Seattle when it opened in September.

The new protected bike lane on Second Avenue greatly improved bicycle safety in downtown Seattle when it opened in September.

In a joint letter with Oregon Representative Peter DeFazio and DC Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, he made the case:

“The safety of everyone on the road should be our top priority. Thanks to coordinated efforts, motor vehicle accident deaths are declining. But the same is not true for the most vulnerable people on our roadways – pedestrians and bicyclists. The GAO can give us a better idea of the reasons behind why pedestrian and cyclist fatalities are going up. We want to know what more Congress can do to ensure the highest level of safety for all of those using our roads.”

Locally, bicycle travel has not shown the same accident and injury rate improvements that car travel has over the last five years.

PSRC adopted an Active Transportation Plan in 2014 to better address bicycle and pedestrian mobility and safety at the regional level. The plan identifies gaps in the current system, potential resources for future funding, best practices and policy recommendations. It serves as the framework for PSRC’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee‘s work program.

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60 % get parking benefits – 30 % get transit

Results from the Puget Sound Regional Travel Study show that nearly 60% of those with jobs have subsidized parking offered where they work, while only 30% have subsidized transit use.

parkingIn addition, of those with subsidized parking available, most of them (88%) make use of it.  Where transit benefits are offered, half say they don’t use it.

The survey asked a representative sample of Puget Sound residents who are employed full or part-time which of a list of commuter benefits are offered by their employers.

These included free or subsidized parking, free or subsidized transit use, and other subsidized commuter benefits such as vanpooling and bike storage.

transitThe survey was conducted between April and June 2014 and included 6,042 households throughout King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties from urban, suburban, and rural locations.

This particular question did not specify whether the parking benefit was a formal program offered by the employer or simply a case of the employee being able to park anywhere there was an available spot in a generally free parking neighborhood.

The responses to the “Other commuter benefits” question were similar to those for transit, with around 30% saying such benefits were offered, but most did not make use of any such benefits.

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Governor Inslee: Carbon pollution charge to pay for transportation

Governor Inslee has proposed a market based carbon charge to raise $4.8 billion for transportation over the next 12 years.

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Governor Inslee proposes “transportation pollution paying for transportation choices.” (TVW)

The Governor outlined his proposal at an event in Medina and in a news release,  and an outline.

Details on a new Carbon Accountability Charge are expected tomorrow.  His detailed budget proposals are expected on Thursday.

The Governor said that 130 industrial polluters would be subject to the charge – and that “allowances will be determined at auction.”

The Governor and his aides described a comprehensive package of investments that would be funded from the new charge, increases in fees and bonding, for a total of $12 billion.

The proposal includes completing the new 520 bridge, routes 167 and 509, addressing choke points on I-5 along Joint Base Lewis-McCord and 405 between Bellevue and Renton, a new ferry, new terminals in Seattle and Mukilteo,  and new authority for Sound Transit Three.

The Governor is the first to propose new comprehensive transportation investments for the 2015 state legislature – a top priority for the Puget Sound Regional Council.

The Governor urged action “as soon as possible.” He said that if the Governor and the legislature fail to act, “our state is going to erode, our economy will decline.”

The Governor’s announcement can be found on TVW.


Join us for free session on Maximizing Transit Access

On December 18, PSRC is hosting a brown bag session on ways to make it easier to get to and use transit.

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Providing easy access to high-quality transit service is an important element in the region’s long-range transportation plan.

Transportation 2040, the region’s long-range transportation plan, calls for a large capital expansion of the transit system and a doubling of transit service in the region by 2040.

To ensure that these investments are fully maximized, increasing people’s ability to easily access high-quality transit service will be an important function shared by transit agencies, local jurisdictions, and other regional stakeholders.

This session will focus on several ongoing and recently completed efforts on this topic including:

  • Nonmotorized connectivity analysis from King County Metro and Sound Transit
  • Park and ride efficiency study conducted by WSDOT
  • Parking management pilot project from Sound Transit
  • Access to transit study from King County Metro
  • Draft system access issue paper as part of Sound Transit’s long-range plan update
  • Transit access assessment underway at PSRC

The brown bag will be held from 12:30-2 p.m. in PSRC’s Boardroom, 1011 Western Avenue, Suite 500, Seattle.  Learn  more here.

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Special needs transportation projects proposed

The Puget Sound Regional Council is inviting people to comment on special needs transportation projects recommended for funding.

South Sound 2-1-1’s transportation specialists help connect people with public transit, paratransit, and other specialized transportation services available in Pierce County.

South Sound 2-1-1’s transportation specialists help connect people with public transit, paratransit, and other specialized transportation services available in Pierce County.

Special needs projects provide transportation services to seniors, people with disabilities, low-income individuals, and youth.

The list includes 24 projects totaling more than $11 million in requests for funding.

One project is Senior Services of Snohomish County’s Transportation Assistance Program, which is requesting funds to replace four buses.

This program helps seniors and people with disabilities get to medical appointments, educational opportunities, jobs, shopping and social interactions.

Another program on the list is the South Sound 2-1-1 Transportation Resource Center, managed by United Way of Pierce County. The center provides information, referral, advocacy and follow-up about available transportation resources.

The public comment period on the special needs projects will run from December 11, 2014 through January 22, 2015.

How to make a comment:

Mail: Puget Sound Regional Council
ATTN: Gil Cerise
1011 Western Avenue, Suite 500
Seattle, Washington 98104-1035
E-mail: gcerise@psrc.org
In Person: January 8 at 9:30 a.m. or January 22 at 10 a.m. at PSRC

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