Tacoma Urbanist

Mar. 26, 2013 at 12:13am

Council Proposals Could Delay Link Extension by 2 Years and Cost Tacoma Taxpayers $600,000

Here is the latest in Tacoma's efforts to extend light rail in Tacoma which have three new proposals which could case three days in addition to the 9 years which have transpired since Link extension has been studied: 1) replacing light rail extension with a bus, 2) requiring a Tacoma "citywide transportation study" before the process could continue, 3) consideration of a "hybrid" route rather than one of the multitude of Sound Transit proposed routes which have been narrowed down to three.

From Tacoma Tomorrow:

(Special thanks to Chris Karnes for his knowledge and advocacy of the issue.)

From Tacoma Tomorrow:

(Special thanks to Chris Karnes for his knowledge and advocacy of the issue and who has gone to more Sound Transit meetings on the issue than anyone else I know.)

We don't have time for this

The Tacoma Link Alternatives Analysis schedule

David Boe, from his comments in the articles in the Tacoma Weekly and The News Tribune, indicate that he doesn't just want to look at a "hybrid route," he doesn't just want to look at wireless electrified bus rapid transit, he wants to see if we can delay this process to do a comprehensive, citywide transportation study.

Let's look at what that might entail

Rather than try to argue semantics and strategy, I tried help evaluate that course of action.  The first stumbling block for such an idea is that it is currently unfunded.  There is no line item anywhere in any budget to help pay for such a process, which if Seattle is any measure, would cost no more than $600,000.  It is not included in the six year transportation plan or in the Transportation Benefit District's list of priority projects

However, if this were to change, let's say at an emergency meeting of the City Council tomorrow, we might be able to have it included in the funds that will begin flowing from the vehicle license fee in three months time.  At the same time Council and staff could develop a scope of work, a public involvement plan, and develop a request for proposals from an outside consultant.

It took Seattle 12 months to work on their transit master plan.
If all went well, a kickoff could be arranged sometime in July or August, but probably in September, to allow for evaluation of the proposals, and the bulk of the work would last about 12 months in duration.  The City of Seattle and the City of Bellevue encountered similar timelines in the development and update of their transit master plans.  At the conclusion of that timeline we would be in late 2014.  Council adoption of the plan could then take place as early as January 2015.

There is one issue with this plan that should be highly concerning to Tacoma residents.  It would completely delay the start of development of environmental analysis and engineering on a Tacoma Link extension until January 2015.  I highly doubt that the Sound Transit Board is willing to keep the contractor on standby for that long.  Preliminary engineering and environmental analysis on the Sound Transit side are both funded and scheduled and contracted to occur after ST Board approval of a preferred alternative.

However, the very same timeline has a lot of merit if we want to have appropriate levels of study done to include a second phase of Tacoma Link expansion in ST3 and potentially additional targeted transit service from a state transportation package.  ST3, by all indications from rumblings in King County (Legislature willing, of course) will be in November of 2016.  We obviously have to have some analysis completed by then to have any projects included in the package.

The clock is ticking.  Let's not waste anymore time delaying what's already in the pipeline

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by Erik on 3/26/2013 @ 12:39am
Remember the event hosted by Chris Karnes (with speakers) on April 7th:


Rally to Move Forward on Tacoma Link

Join us for an evening to rally for the expansion Tacoma Link light rail.

We will have information about next steps, information about each of the alternative corridors, and an opportunity to sign a letter of support.

After more than 7 years of study, it is time to move forward with an extension of Tacoma Link.

The Amocat Cafe will be serving beer this evening. Program/speakers to follow at 6:00pm

When: April 5, 2013 5:00 p.m. Where: Amocat Cafe located at 625 St. Helens in downtown Tacoma

Link to event on Facebook: