On July 1st, 2021, Sound Transit’s Executive Committee discussed Program Realignment proposals and amendments. TCC’s Executive Director, Alex Hudson, offered the following testimony:
Transportation Choices Coalition is grateful for the opportunity to respond to Motion 2021-5. We appreciate the urgency to move forward with a plan for realignment, and want to emphasize support for ensuring any adopted proposal prioritizes on-time delivery of voter-approved projects.
The current proposal offers an important starting point, including critical to include elements such as:
- Strong and swift commitment to legal compliance and continued use of an independent cost consultant.
- Commitment to pursue expanded financial capacity including additional State and Federal funds and increased debt capacity.
- A plan for developing further cost saving options.
- Regular program review.
- Meaningful projects in each subarea get people much-needed reliable transit trips.
- Prioritizes equity in program and engagement.
- Pushing structured parking out as a financially and environmentally responsible way to focus on decarbonization and getting people out of cars.
However to fully deliver on the responsibility for taxpayers, the economy, and the environment, the proposal must go further. We urge the board to create and consider alternative or additive proposals that include:
- Extraordinary commitment at the highest levels of the organization, and in partnership with stakeholders, to working on generating new revenue. All delays are of concern when we need to rapidly shift people out of cars and into transit. Every element of the agency should be oriented toward aggressively accelerating the delivery of mass transit.
- Inclusive, iterative public process and stakeholder engagement focused on collaboratively working toward solutions.
- Accountability to the cost-estimating methodology reform.
- Updates to the system access policy to ensure jurisdictions get meaningful mitigations that increase transit access in the interim of potential delays.
- A cautious approach to cost reductions, prioritizing efficiencies over scope changes.
- Prioritization of the Graham Street Station.
- Going forward, better incorporate equity throughout the process and program.
Few things are more important than accelerating the delivery of alternatives to car-based commutes. We see your commitment to this shared goal, but know that the best decisions can only be made when you have meaningful choices to consider and select from. We thank you for this opportunity and look forward to further engagement.
The full Sound Transit Board will meet on July 22nd at 1:30pm to consider next steps on Realignment. Have thoughts? We’d love to hear them! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to share your ideas or get added to our biweekly Washington Transportation Advocates call, where we discuss Sound Transit, as well as local, state and federal transportation updates.