Growth is the story of 2016 – with more to come next year

Some of our most popular posts in 2016 focused on major growth trends: population, transit ridership, jobs and more. Looking ahead, the region is expected to keep on growing. By 2040, the population for the four counties is forecast to reach more than 4.9 million.

Here’s a look back at some of our top data stories from 2016:

Population edges over 4 million people 

Since 1960 there have been five different times when the region added over 80,000 people.

We reported that population in the central Puget Sound region reached 3,985,040 in April 2016, growing by 86,320 people in the past year. This was the biggest gain this century and the highest growth rate in 20 years. Based on the rate of population growth (about 236 people per day), the region likely surpassed 4 million people in June.

Job gains highest since 2000

The services sector added the most jobs in the last year, followed by retail and wholesale trade, transportation, & utilities.

The services sector added the most jobs in the last year, followed by retail and wholesale trade, transportation, & utilities.

The region started the year building on six years of robust job growth, adding 269,600 jobs since January 2010. That’s 150 jobs per day. The majority of the job gains occurred in King and Snohomish counties. Throughout the year, job growth continued to accelerate, with the region gaining 32,800 jobs in the first six months of 2016.

Total jobs in the region surpassed the 2 million mark and job growth is on pace to meet the region’s forecast of nearly 3 million jobs by 2040.

Transit ridership keeps growing 

Monthly boardings on the region’s transit system were up approximately 3.6% in the first seven months of 2016 and continue to outpace employment and population growth. The region’s transit boardings have grown faster than any other large metropolitan area in the United States since 2005.

More Puget Sound workers living outside the region

More than 100,000 workers commute into the region – about 5% of the entire workforce of central Puget Sound (King, Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap counties).

On pace for another record year at Sea-Tac Airport

Over 26 million passengers passed through Sea-Tac in the first seven months of 2016 — 2.2 million more than the record-setting first seven months of 2015 (a 9.4% increase).

You can check out more regional data on our Puget Sound Trends page.  Happy New Year!

REDI for prime time

The Regional Equitable Development Initiative (REDI) Fund has debuted.

The idea for the REDI Fund emerged from PSRC’s Growing Transit Communities partnership in 2014.

The idea for the REDI Fund emerged from PSRC’s Growing Transit Communities partnership in 2014.

Designed to spur the creation of affordable, equitable Transit-Oriented Housing in the central Puget Sound region, the new financing tool is available to preserve and create affordable homes in transit-accessible areas for low- and moderate-income households, many of whom spend more than half of their income on housing and transportation.

With affordable housing increasingly difficult to find, especially near job centers and transit, the fund will provide critical, early, low-cost financing to help keep neighborhoods connected to transit economically diverse.

The overall goal of the $21 million revolving loan fund will be to leverage the historic $54 billion transit expansion underway in the region to help increase opportunity for lower-wage households.

A collaboration of private, public and nonprofit investors came together for the creation of the fund:

  • Enterprise Community Loan Fund: $6.5 million
  • Low Income Investment Fund: $4 million
  • Living Cities Blended Catalyst Fund: $3.5 million and staff time support
  • State of Washington, $2.5 million (contributed through an agreement with King County)
  • King County Housing Authority: $2 million
  • City of Seattle: $1 million
  • King County: $1 million
  • A Regional Coalition for Housing: $500,000

The REDI fund will make available acquisition loans up to $5 million to purchase sites that support developments – including affordable housing – within one-half mile of a rail station or one-quarter mile of a frequent-service bus stop in King, Pierce or Snohomish Counties.

Read more about the REDI Fund, or contact James Madden at 206.204.3424 or

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Bonney Lake and Covington seeking “Larger City” classification

The two cities have sought reclassification from small to larger city in VISION 2040. The action would require a minor amendment to the VISION 2040 regional growth strategy.

Covington has combined population and employment of over 23,500 and meets the threshold for Larger City.

Covington has combined population and employment of over 23,500 and meets the threshold for Larger City.

The Growth Management Policy Board reviewed the case and recommended Executive Board approval.

Updated December 15: The Executive Board voted to table the recommendation on reclassification to allow more time for broader regional discussion. Board members will take up the request again in the spring.

Also at the meeting, the board took action to approve new SEPA procedures, approved Transportation 2040 project status requests, and met in Executive Session for the Executive Director’s performance evaluation.

See the full agenda here or watch the meeting video.

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PSRC seeking public comment on special needs transportation projects

PSRC is inviting public comment on special needs projects recommended for funding.

Share your thoughts on a proposed list of projects recommended for special needs funding!

Share your thoughts on a proposed list of projects recommended for special needs funding!

The projects will become eligible to receive funding through PSRC’s Coordinated Grant Program and the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Consolidated Grant Program.

Special needs projects provide transportation services to seniors, people with disabilities, and others who have mobility challenges due to age or income to help them get to medical appointments, educational opportunities, jobs, shopping and social interactions.

The list includes 14 projects recommended to receive $4.2 million in funding. There are also 20 project recommended to receive regional priority rankings for the statewide WSDOT Consolidated Grant competition.  Final decision on awards for projects on the list will be determined after WSDOT Consolidated Grant awards in the spring of 2017.

Example projects and the amounts recommended include:

  • Mobility Management King County, Hopelink, $513,056
  • Beyond the Borders, Pierce County Community Connections, $989,262
  • Sustain Community Shuttles for Seniors and People with Disabilities in King County, City of Seattle Aging and Disability Services Division, $490,911

The public review and comment period will run until January 26, 2017, when PSRC’s Executive Board is scheduled to recommend the projects for funding.

How to make a comment:

Mail: Puget Sound Regional Council

ATTN: Gil Cerise

1011 Western Avenue, Suite 500

Seattle, Washington 98104-1035


In Person: January 12 at 9:30 a.m. or January 26 at 10 a.m. at PSRC, 1011 Western Avenue, Suite 500, Seattle 98104

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Launching local climate change policies into action on Dec 15

Central Puget Sound cities and counties have adopted comprehensive plans with policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change. But it can be challenging to turn policies into actions.

Cities like Bellevue are working to implement policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Bellevue is one of many cities in the region taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Please join us for a free session on December 15 at PSRC to discuss a range of actions that jurisdictions are taking to analyze, sequester and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This event will include presentations from several cities and counties along with a panel discussion.

Speakers will include: Erika Harris and Kelly McGourty, Puget Sound Regional Council; Matt Kuharic, King County; Lisa Dulude, Snohomish County; Kristin Lynett, City of Tacoma; and Miranda Redinger, City of Shoreline.

The climate change session is part of the ongoing Peer Networking Series focused on best practices and resources for local planning and implementation. A follow up on implementing climate change adaptation policies is scheduled for spring 2017.

The session is scheduled for 12:00 – 1:30 in PSRC’s Boardroom. You can attend in person or via webinar. For more information, visit


Clibborn discusses transportation priorities in 2017

Representative Judy Clibborn recently spoke with participants at the Regional Freight Mobility Roundtable regarding recent developments in transportation and the outlook for the upcoming 2017 legislative session.

State Representative Judy Clibborn spoke to the Freight Mobility Roundtable last week.

State Representative Judy Clibborn spoke to the Freight Mobility Roundtable last week.

Clibborn reflected on her decade long history of speaking to the group and the progress that has been made on identifying funding to complete the transportation projects and programs that keep people and freight moving.

Despite the passage of transportation revenue packages in the Legislature, there are still significant challenges and unmet needs for new transportation investments as well as for maintaining and preserving the current transportation system.  Advancements in technology are leaning more towards alternatives to fossil fuels, which has implications for the dependence on the gas tax as the main source of revenue for transportation projects.  Rep. Clibborn also discussed the increasing pressure on the transportation system in areas of the state that are experiencing growth, and that these are new challenges that need to be taken into consideration.

Additionally, the Roundtable heard from Ashley Probart of the Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board, and Chris Herman of the Washington Public Ports Association regarding the update to the Washington State Marine Cargo Forecast.  Findings are still in draft format, but this data will help decision makers to better understand the movement of freight in the state and the region.  The final study will be made public prior to the 2017 legislative session.

Bill Drumheller of the Washington Department of Ecology provided a presentation covering the new Washington State Clean Air Rule, which applies to fuel refinery activities for fuel consumed in the state.  This rule is intended to reduce the state’s carbon footprint for the transportation sector, and make progress towards meeting the greenhouse gas reductions outlined in state law back in 2008.

Presentations from the meeting are available on the Regional Freight Mobility Roundtable website.


Project delivery of PSRC funds

As part of its overall effort to ensure projects receiving PSRC funds move forward efficiently, PSRC has implemented a successful project tracking program, which helps project sponsors meet any requirement hurdles in a timely fashion.

King County Metro's trolley buses were part of PSRC's project delivery target this year.

King County Metro’s trolley buses were part of PSRC’s project delivery target this year.

At its December 8 meeting, the Transportation Policy Board will be reviewing some recent research into the tracking program to see if there are any potential risks imposed on projects when funds are awarded only to the preliminary engineering / design phase, rather than complete funding through construction.

Also in funding news, the board is set to release a list of projects recommended for PSRC’s special needs transportation funding through the Coordinated Grant Program.

The board will also be reviewing the draft work program for the upcoming update to Transportation 2040, which is slated to be finalized in January.

See the full agenda here and watch it live on December 8 at 9:30 am.