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Seattleites Weigh In On Transit Projects

If you want to get someone from Seattle talking, ask them about transit. They’ll tell you how they really feel. That’s what Sound Transit found out during this week’s public forum, part of a larger campaign to get the public involved in transportation planning.

That’s partly because Washington lawmakers still haven’t passed a plan to fund transportation. Seattle residents weighed in on mass transit projects on Thursday at Union Station in Seattle.

Don Miller of Bellevue came to Union Station to tell Sound Transit staff bus rapid transit is a bad idea – at least along the 405 corridor from Bellevue to Renton.

“A month ago, a truckload of bees broke the freeway,” he said. “Bus rapid transit will break if there’s a major accident or some kind of catastrophe that interrupts the freeways.”

Sound Transit will use suggestions to inform work on a 2016 ballot measure. Not everyone agrees where the region should focus, but Sound Transit spokesperson Geoff Patrick says that’s the idea.

“We need to get the community involved in planning,” he said. “In the Puget Sound region, with all the congestion we have today and all the population growth we face, the board is asking people what projects we should study.”

The board still needs approval from state lawmakers to ask voters for new taxes. That’s part of the proposed transportation plan, but talks on a deal have stalled. Lawmakers say they need to first agree on how to fund the state’s daily operation for the next two years.

As for the ballot measure, Sound Transit plans to finalize a list of projects in August.