South Sound state legislators have introduced a bill that would allow voters in Olympia and the surrounding area to decide whether to join Sound Transit, which is a regional transit authority serving Pierce, King and Snohomish counties.
While it could be decades, if ever, before Sound Transit rapid commuter train service reaches Thurston County, joining the regional transportation authority could improve bus service in the urban Puget Sound region.
Olympia-based Intercity Transit and Sound Transit already are engaged in a grant-funded pilot project providing six northbound and six southbound buses between Olympia and Seattle each work day morning and night.
House Bill 1921 sponsored by Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, and companion Senate Bill 5780 offered by Sen. Karen Fraser, D-Thurston County, would allow for a public vote of counties, or portions of counties, west of the Cascade mountains that border Sound Transit’s service territory.
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Improved bus service between Seattle and Olympia, and communities in between is a logical response to ever-increasing traffic congestion on Interstate 5. If the voters decide they want more transit options, joining Sound Transit could make sense. The first step is for lawmakers to pass the House or Senate bill so voters can decide if they want to explore the Sound Transit option.