This week the Pierce Transit Board of Commissions opted to move forward with a $150 million project to incorporate fast and high capacity transit along the busiest bus route in the system.
The aim of the commission is to add Bus Rapid Transit along the 14.4-mile corridor on Pacific Avenue/SR 7 between downtown Tacoma and Spanaway by 2020. Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT, are “designed to carry larger numbers of riders with greater speed, reliability, and frequency than a standard-fixed route bus.
The commission opened the idea up to the public with open houses in 2017 and 2018 to gather public input, and the BRT option received the most support. It was also recommended by the 40-member Technical Advisory Committee for the project, which includes the City of Tacoma, Pierce County, the Puget Sound Regional Council, universities along the route, the Washington State Department of Transportation, and more.
Of the total funding, $75 million has already been committed to the project from Sound Transit 3 and the 2015 Connecting Washington state transportation package. Pierce Transit will apply for federal funding for the remaining funds. The goal is to begin the design, environmental review, and the construction process by the end of this year or early 2019, if funding is secured.