Boeing Position Paper on the RTA Rail/Bus Transit Plan

June 13, 1996

The Boeing Company supports the Regional Transportation Plan adopted in May by the Regional Transit Authority (RTA).

The RTA is seeking voter approval for the plan on November 5. Valued at approximately $3.9 billion, the 10-year capital construction effort would be financed by a 4/10 of one percent increase in local sales tax and a 3/10 of one percent increase in the motor vehicle excise tax. The plan also would be financed, in part, by 30-year bonds, not to exceed $1 billion, and repaid by the two taxes.

While not a panacea for the region's transportation challenges, the plan is a much-sought-after first step towards a goal of linking together alternative modes of transportation throughout the Puget Sound area. From carpools, buses and trains--to the Ports and SeaTac Airport, the vision is a holistic transportation solution that includes connections between the home, workplace, school, civic and cultural locations. The vision is attainable only if local, regional and state entities work together in collaboration to solve he transportation challenges in order to preserve the economic vitality of this major center of commerce and world trade, while maintaining the quality of life for the region's citizens. The plan acknowledges local needs by including sub-area specified projects.

For Boeing, the importance of addressing the region's transportation needs is two-fold:

First is the issue of our employees as commuters. It is impossible to run an efficient company when your workers are stuck on the commute to work. At the end of the day, it's no better when you work force is delayed in its attempts to get home or to their children's little league games. With 75,000 Boeing employees living in nearly every zip code in the region, the growing transportation problem is a serious concern.

Secondly, to be cost-competitive, Boeing must move materials efficiently between our seven major plants and the dozens of support locations in the Puget Sound region. Fifteen years ago, experts estimated a trip between our Auburn and Everett plants at about one hour. Today, it can take up to two hours. With each passing year, that delay grows.

While the proposed plan will not eliminate our region's traffic woes, it will help prevent the situation from worsening by complementing solutions provided by other agencies. The plan provides improvements through:

A Seamless Fare System

Employees who commute by bus will be able to travel more easily throughout the region with the proposed seamless fare system. That system will enable Boeing, and the region's other major employers, to offer better, more efficient Commute Trip Reduction opportunities. The proposed system greatly reduces the 40 fare systems currently in the region.

A New Funding Source

Existing revenue sources are inadequate to meet future capacity improvements. RTA revenues are additive to these existing sources, and will be expended in this region.

Regional Bus/Flexible High Capacity Transit (HCT)

The large size and numerous locations of Boeing sites mandate flexible regional bus solutions to deliver employees close to their work location. Without this incentive, employees will choose to drive their own vehicles.

HOV System

The proposed plan includes high occupancy vehicle (HOV) direct access at key interchanges throughout the region to help reduce major congestion points. When coupled with state completion of core HOV lanes, this plan will allow easier and more predictable movement of the flexible HCT modes of travel.

Predictable Rail Services

Electric light rail or commuter rail on existing tracks will provide an efficient and predictable mode of travel.

Boeing pledges its support in helping to educate voters about the benefits of the plan and the company's support for increased state revenues for Washington State Department of Transportation funding deficiencies. It is the company's view that all modes of transportation currently need greater capacity.

Provided by Frank Figg, Manager, Local Government Affairs, Puget Sound, Ph: (206) 655-3640; Fax: (206) 655-1342

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Last modified: September 26, 1996