Transportation: moving forward or stuck in reverse?

Stuck in Traffic was the title of a recent forum for REALTORS® sponsored by the Affiliate Council of the Seattle King County REALTORS®. The forum featured presentations from the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) and Sound Transit.

Growth in jobs and population have combined to push the Seattle region to seventh for the worst traffic congestion in the nation according to statistics from the PSRC. Although total vehicle miles travelled per person per day have declined from a peak of 24 miles in 1997 to 21.4 miles today, traffic delays have increased by 20% in just one year.

Josh Brown, Executive Director of the PSRC said “we are behind” in implementing transportation solutions. Brown cited a PSRC survey that showed transportation was far and away the greatest concern of those responding. When asked about housing needs, people who took the survey said affordability was their top priority, followed closely by commute time. Those in the real estate industry understand that meeting both of those priorities for homebuyers is difficult in today’s housing market.

Brown said the legislature’s action to secure $6.8 billion in transportation funding will help get some needed projects completed, but that future improvements will depend upon the will of the voters. Trinity Parker of Sound Transit gave the forum an overview of Sound Transit projects now and into the future. She said the Link-Light Rail line from downtown Seattle to the University of Washington was slated to open in March of 2016, months ahead of schedule. She also outlined the proposed projects to Northgate and to Bellevue and the eastside across I-90. Sound Transit is expected to bring a 2016 ballot measure to the voters for $15 billion to fund these future projects.

The Affiliate Council of the Seattle King County REALTORS® sponsors quarterly forums on real estate topics for real estate brokers. All forums are open to Seattle King County REALTOR® members at no cost.