OLYMPIA — Kitsap County residents will have a chance for public review and comment on the Washington State Transportation Commission’s draft of the Washington Transportation Plan (WTP 2035) at a forum set from 5-7 p.m. Sept. 11, at the Norm Dicks Government Center, 345 6th St., Bremerton.
The WTP 2035 plan will chart a course for how Washington’s statewide transportation system will change and grow over the next 20 years. It will guide the direction for transportation policy decisions and investments across modes and jurisdictions — advancing future strategies that will impact how we live, work and commute.
Recognizing the current and future needs of the Puget Sound Region and Olympic Peninsula, the draft plan emphasizes the importance of maintaining and preserving a host of important transportation systems — from roads and bridges to transit buses and ferries. It also stresses the need to improve travel time reliability.
The draft WTP 2035 is the result of close collaboration and input between the Washington State Department of Transportation and Regional Transportation Planning Organization, an advisory group made up of a diverse set of key stakeholders including representatives from cities, counties, ports, transit and organizations representing business and environmental perspectives throughout Washington state, including the Puget Sound Region and Olympic Peninsula.
Transportation Commission Chair Anne Haley emphasized that the focus of the long-range Washington Transportation Plan update is to keep the transportation system we now have in good operating condition.
“We must do more to maintain and preserve our current transportation assets,” Haley said. “When new resources become available, it is imperative that we use them effectively and efficiently to get the most out of our transportation system.”
From now through Sept. 25, the commission hopes to hear robust, statewide ideas, comments and concerns from the general public.
Key aspects of the draft WTP 2035 plan are:
• Washington’s future economic vitality and quality of life depend on efficient implementation and effective operation of a connected multimodal transportation systemb—bwhether moving harvest from the farm to market on the roads, waterways, or rail; or getting children safely between school and home using sidewalks, bicycles or buses. A connected and multimodal system requires an integrated and coordinated planning process supported by best management practices.
• Establishing a more defined role for the State in multimodal transportation —including public transportation and special needs transportation — is important for Washington communities across the state. Service providers must be given the tools and authorities to ensure they can deliver efficient services that meet the unique needs of their respective areas.
• Statewide, there is a clear and immediate need for secure, long-term sources of funding for transportation. Continuing the funding status quo will result in declining conditions and performance of Washington’s transportation system, due to inadequate maintenance and failure to address growing demand.
“We will use this Washington Transportation Plan update as the future framework for providing safe and efficient transportation options to Washington residents, businesses and visitors,” said Amy Scarton, Washington State Department of Transportation assistant secretary for Community and Economic Development. “We want people from around the state to look at the ideas in the draft plan and tell us how it fits their needs for today and the future.”
The public can view the WTP 2035 draft plan at www.wtp2035.com or on the Commission’s website: www.wstc.wa.gov. The website also provides an opportunity for members of the public to comment directly on the plan.
In addition, comments are accepted by email (Transc@wstc.wa.gov) or by mail (P.O. Box 47308 Olympia, WA 98504-7308) through Sept. 25.
After the close of public comment, a revised and final plan will be issued and submitted by January 2015 to the governor and Legislature for consideration.