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King County Metro is taking steps to build a new south King County base to achieve our long-term goals for expanding transit service and transitioning to a zero-emission bus fleet.

Metro's seven existing bus bases are over capacity and unable to meet the increased service needs in our growing region. The agency's plan calls for adding bus base capacity in strategic locations like south King County.

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King County Executive Dow Constantine announced in June 2019 that Metro has identified and will evaluate three potential sites in south King County as possible candidates to house, operate and maintain 250 battery electric buses. It is estimated to cost $480 million to purchase a site, build the base, and open it for operations as soon as 2030.

After an initial review of 20 potential sites in a targeted area of south King County, Metro is preparing to gather public input and conduct a more in-depth evaluation of three sites:

  1. Kent: 25 to 38 acres at South 196th Street and 68th Avenue South.
  2. Auburn: 18 to 26 acres at South 277th Street and D Street.
  3. Auburn: 38 acres at 37th Street Northwest and B Street Northwest.

The sites were selected based in part on size, shape, topography and access to major arterials and highways. Read more about the selected sites.

How Metro evaluates sites

The preference is for a site that is:

  • Mostly rectangular and flat.
  • Approximately 30 acres.
  • Accessible to major arterials and highways.
  • Compatible with existing and planned surrounding land use and reasonably available for future development for an all-electric battery bus base.
  • In alignment with King County's social equity and sustainability goals.

During the site review and evaluation process, sites may be added or removed based on emerging information or properties becoming available.

King County recognizes that transportation is a key factor in accessing education, jobs and services that allow our residents to fulfill their potential and that our region’s prosperity is dependent upon the ability of workers and freight to move throughout the region.

A south King County location will enable Metro to enhance mobility and access to transportation for everyone, provide more efficient service to current and future routes and contribute to the physical, environmental, and economic health of nearby communities. The long-range plan to increase base capacity—and transit service—will give people alternative options to driving alone and will contribute to the region’s efforts to address our climate crisis.

The zero-emission, all-electric battery bus fleet also will help improve the air quality in south King County, where people are disproportionately affected by air pollution. Metro also expects the south King County base will spur economic development, providing jobs during planning, construction, and long-term operations at the facility.

Consistent with King County’s Green Building Ordinance and Strategic Climate Action Plan, the base will be built, maintained, and operated consistent with the highest green building and sustainable development practices, and in accordance with the Equity and Social Justice Ordinance and Strategic Plan.

A base farther south in King County will allow buses in the Metro system to be redistributed, a move which is expected to reduce the travel costs of buses when they are traveling between the start points of their trips.

Metro is committed to working closely with local, historically underrepresented communities to help create facilities that support their goals, incorporate community benefits, and add value.

Metro will engage with communities to gather input during the process to site, design, and construct the new base. We will reach out to communities in 2019 as we identify a single site, and again in 2020 when we plan to begin an environmental review process.

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Contact us

Phone: 206-263-0584

Michelle Huynh
Community Relations Planner

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