June 15, 2011
Regional leaders support new vision for public transportation in King County
Adopted plan provides clear guidelines and goals, revamps formula for allocation of transit service The Metropolitan King County Council’s Regional Transit Committee today gave its approval to a new vision of regional transit by unanimously adopting the Strategic Plan for Public Transportation 2011-2021 and Metro Service Guidelines. The approved plan sets goals for regional transit by encouraging transparency, streamlining current transit policies into a single unified blueprint and establishing guidelines for the allocation of transit service throughout King County.
“The regional dialogue over transit service has been bogged down over the 40/40/20 policy for a decade,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn, Chair of the Regional Transit Committee. “I am so pleased that we were able to come together as regional leaders and adopt a framework for moving forward into the next decade. As a transit agency, we face very serious challenges in the years ahead. Without this framework, agreement on solving our problems would be very hard to come by.”
“This plan is the culmination of a collaborative process that required everyone involved to look beyond the cities and constituencies they represent,” said Burien Mayor Joan McGilton. “The result is a plan that represents the vision of all transit users—urban and suburban.”
“Emphasizing productivity and transparency are the foundation of Metro’s Strategic Plan and Service Guidelines, taking our transit system in a new direction,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips, chair of the Council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee. “The era of empty buses is over as the public simply will not tolerate inefficient use of resources during these tight budget times. Getting here has been a collaborative process with leaders throughout the region, and I commend everyone for coming together to support a more efficient Metro.”
The Strategic Plan builds upon the foundation set by the Regional Transit Task Force (RTTF), the panel created to develop a vision for public transportation in King County. The RTTF gave a series of recommendations that have been incorporated into the Strategic Plan, including measurable goals and regular reviews of the plan and making changes when needed.
The Strategic Plan also eliminates the current policy on the allocation or reduction of transit service. Currently, bus service is distributed on a proportional basis, with each transit subarea receiving a set amount. Under the proposed Strategic Plan, making service reduction and service growth decisions would be based on priorities that include:
• Emphasizing productivity due to its linkage to economic development, land use, financial sustainability, and environmental sustainability;
• Ensuring social equity; and
• Providing geographic value throughout the county.
“This strategic plan is not based on politics or a rigid formula like 40/40/20,” said Councilmember Julia Patterson. “Instead our new plan honors what’s most important for King County residents by basing transit service on three core values – productivity, social equity, and geographic value -- that result in the fair distribution of bus hours. As a suburban representative, I am proud to support the plan.”
“As a member of last year's Regional Transit Task Force, I was proud to serve with the suburban representatives on the RTC and vote for a plan that embodies the Task Force's guiding principle of building a more efficient and productive transit system for all of King County,” said RTC Committee member Tom Rasmussen, chair of the Seattle City Council’s Transportation Committee.
The Strategic Plan has several primary goals and a series of objectives and strategies to achieve those goals:
Financial Stewardship: Exercise sound financial management and build Metro’s long term sustainability.
Public Engagement and Transparency: Promote robust public engagement that informs, involves, and empowers people and communities.
Economic Growth and Built Environment: Encourage vibrant, economically thriving and sustainable communities.
Service Excellence: Establish a culture of customer service and deliver services that are responsive to community needs.
Safety: Support safe communities.
Human Potential: Provide equitable opportunities for people from all areas of King County to access the public transportation system.
Environmental Sustainability: Safeguard and enhance King County’s natural resources and environment.
Quality Workforce: Develop and empower Metro’s most valuable asset, its employees.
Working with the County Council, the Regional Transit Committee has a key role in the oversight of the Strategic Plan. The Committee would review annual performance of the transit system and against the policies of the plan. Should adjustments be needed, the RTC would work with the Council, County Executive and Metro Transit to provide the policy guidance that enables the goals to be met.
The Strategic Plan now goes to the County Council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee for consideration, with the goal of sending it to the County Council for final action next month.