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“Imagine hopping on a train in Thurston County’s urban area to commute to your job in Pierce or King county. Each weekday morning, an estimated 30,000 commuters head north for jobs and 15,000 come into Thurston County. Those figures are predicted to double in the next two decades, according to Jailyn Brown, an associate planner for the Thurston Regional Planning Council. A group that has taken an in-depth look at bringing commuter rail into Thurston County has concluded it has potential…

Sound Transit operates Sounder Commuter Rail, which now runs between Tacoma and Everett. An extension from Pierce County’s largest city south to Lakewood is under way. The Thurston Regional Planning Council, an intergovernmental board that develops regional plans and policies, has identified passenger rail as a priority both because of growth in the commuting population and because residents have inquired about it regularly…

The work group examined commuter rail; light rail, which operates within a metropolitan area; and intercity rail, which serves a broader population with all-day service to major cities on the I-5 corridor like the Amtrak Cascades service…

The council will seek $500,000 from next year’s Legislature to pay for a study that will look at specific ways to move commuters around using new or improved roads, rails, bus service and park-and-ride lots. The study would examine where commuter rail would go and how much it would cost.

The work group recommended that the council fund the study with state and federal support. It also recommended the council encourage Sound Transit to include the DuPont rail station in a funding package expected to total several billion dollars that should go before voters in its service district in November.

The transit board will settle on a final project list in April, and the DuPont rail station is still in the mix, said Bruce Gray, a spokesman for Sound Transit.

Such an addition could persuade more Thurston County commuters to use the service and would make commuter rail more visible to area residents,” quoting The Olympian.

Posted by Steve on December 23, 2006 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

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