This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

PSRC has released the Transportation 2040 draft environmental impact statement, which will be used to guide regional planning for the next several decades. There are several alternative scenarios considered (in addition to the “baseline scenario” – i.e. nothing):

  1. Emphasize efficiency
  2. Expand highway and transit capacity – add more HOV and HOT lanes as well
  3. Expand highway and transit capacity – using tolls only to pay for discrete projects (Level 2 tolling, in my previous ordering)
  4. Toll all freeways and spend some of the money on highways and some on transit (Parts of levels 3, 4 and 6)
  5. Toll all freeways and all city arterials (presumably through some sort of GPS system) and use the money for lots of transit expansion (Levels 5/6 — the most aggressive use of tolls)

Note that these are all just guidelines, and all the specific investments mooted are just a way of creating the scenario for accounting purposes. There’s nothing to suggest that we can’t mix and match.

Alternative 5 provides far and away the most transportation funding. Check out the description of the proposed expansion projects:

Alternative 5 Roadways
Alternative 5 would include limited investment in roadways.
Improvements would primarily include completion of HOV
lanes on I-5 and SR 16 and regionwide chokepoint and
bottleneck improvements.

Alternative 5 Transit
Alternative 5 promotes an interconnected transit system that
reaches beyond ST2 by building out the Sound Transit Long-
Range Plan. It would extend express bus and rail (both light
and commuter) service and increase core, connector, and
specialized bus services throughout the region. Light rail or
other high-capacity transit would connect Everett and Tacoma,
extend to downtown Redmond, and serve Ballard and West
Seattle. In addition, commuter rail would connect Renton and
Snohomish via the Burlington Northern/Santa Fe (BNSF) rail
corridor. Alternative 5 would invest in new passenger-only
ferry service to serve demand rather than expanding the auto
ferry system, and transit service to ferry terminals would be
improved. Investments in the transit system would stimulate
mixed-use development near transit centers and rail stations.
Cities would have funds for “complete street” projects to
support safe, walkable, communities.

Note that only Alternative 5 includes Ballard/West Seattle HCT. Again, that’s not to say that the only way to get light rail to Ballard is to toll 15th Ave NW and Leary Way, but that’s one way of getting the necessary revenue.

There’s a comment form open for the next week or so, so be sure to let your voice be heard.

(via PPB)

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