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Future of transit focus of joint committee meeting

Summary

County, Seattle discuss light rail, low emission transit fleet and ST3

Story

Transit proposals that are preparing for the next generation of transporting county residents were the backdrop for today’s joint meeting of the Metropolitan King County Council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee (TrEE) and the Seattle City Council’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee.

The two committees met in Seattle’s City Hall to receive briefings on several initiatives that are focused on improving mobility for people who use the regional transit system to get to work, school, activities and back home.

With the opening of the new Capitol Hill and University of Washington light rail stations, committee members were briefed on the March 26 implementation of Metro Transit service changes that reflect the new extension of light rail. Interim Metro GM Rob Gannon discussed the transition of routes connecting to the light rail stations and the improvement of service times for routes in north Seattle and the University District.

The committees discussed legislation on the future of the vehicles that will be part of the transit fleet. There was a briefing on the new generation of electric trolley buses and Metro’s trial of battery operated buses.

County Councilmembers considered a motion, sponsored by County Council Vice Chair Rod Dembowski and developed in consultation with Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien, calling on Metro Transit to develop a plan to achieve a carbon-neutral or zero emission transit fleet.

“Our transit division is an extraordinary tool to enhance mobility and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Dembowski, Chair of the TrEE Committee. “In developing the carbon-neutral transit motion with Councilmember O’Brien, it is our hope to lead the nation toward a carbon neutral transit system as expeditiously as possible."

The County’s TrEE Committee will further consider the motion at its April 5 meeting.

Committee members also received an overview of the recently introduced Sound Transit 3 proposal from Karen Kitsis, ST3 Planning Manager and Ric Ilgenfritz, Executive Director, Planning, Environment and Project Development. ST3 would extend and complete the current light rail line from Everett to Tacoma and bring light rail to Ballard and West Seattle.
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