The phrase,'Unsound Transit', was coined by the Wall Street Journal to describe Seattle where,"Light Rail Madness eats billions that could otherwise be devoted to truly efficient transportation technologies." The Puget Sound's traffic congestion is a growing cancer on the region's prosperity. This website, captures news and expert opinion about ways to address the crisis. This is not a blog, but a knowledge base, which collects the best articles and presents them in a searchable format. My goal is to arm residents with knowledge so they can champion fact-based, rather than emotional, solutions.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

RTID acknowledges defeat of its blueprint

The Traffic Problem

Congestion on I-5Traffic congestion and aging infrastructure are serious problems facing residents and businesses in Snohomish, King, and Pierce counties, costing us time and money, impacting our quality of life, and putting the lives of our children and families directly at risk.

Strong population and economic growth has strained our roads beyond capacity, threatening our ability to move people and goods through economic corridors in our urban centers. According to the state’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation, traffic costs the businesses and residents of Washington $2 billion annually. Congestion is costly for individuals and the economy.

Most of the key roadways in the highway system were built over 40 years ago. Since then very little has been done to expand their capacity. Meanwhile, the population has mushroomed; Washington’s population more than doubled between 1960 and 2005 to 6.3 million people. Compounding our traffic problems is the projected addition of another two million people who will be using our roads in Washington over the next 25 years.

SR520 bridgeUnderinvestment in our transportation system has also led to deteriorating structures, such as the SR 520 bridge, which was built in 1963. This bridge and other structures are vulnerable to failure from earthquakes, with unacceptable risk to lives and property. The SR 520 bridge carries over 100,000 cars every day. The traffic impacts if it failed completely—not to mention the loss of lives—would be devastating. The risks are real and well understood.

In a show of leadership, elected officials from Snohomish, King and Pierce counties worked together to unite road and transit projects into a coordinated transportation plan to solve our region’s traffic problems. These projects would have levered construction already underway by Sound Transit and the state Department of Transportation. They would have tackled our region’s most congested corridors—such as I-405, which experiences up to 12 hours of gridlock in some areas every day.

The plan integrated transit and road improvements to reduce traffic backups and travel time, improve safety, and keep people and freight moving.

To ensure that funds would be spent wisely and produce results, the RTID Planning Committee adopted stringent policies for accurate cost estimation to keep projects on time and on budget, and to keep the public fully informed.

The Roads & Transit plan went before the region’s voters in the fall of 2007 and was defeated.

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