Surface transportation in a major metropolitan region such as Central Puget Sound works best if it is planned, managed and funded as a unified system. With population expected to grow as much as 50 percent by 2040, and with continuing development occurring in the outer and inner rings of the region, it will be become more and more challenging to ensure mobility while protecting quality of life. Major investments will have to be made, and their combined effect must be substantial.
Presently, Central Puget Sound is handling major surface transportation projects on a piecemeal basis. This does not preclude making some progress, but means that parts of the whole are developed without an overarching regional transportation strategy. This piecemeal approach makes it more difficult to ensure coordination among major projects and long-term cost-effectiveness.
Cascadia Center supports revamping surface transportation to better respond to the need for regional cooperation, and corridor-based management and funding. Corridor authorities, including one for Central Puget Sound, plus a better range of public funding sources and private investment, can help metro regions more effectively plan, prioritize and pay for the updated transportation infrastructure vital to economic health.
Done properly, investments in infrastructure enhance livability and improve the environment. The Cascadia Center’s role in the replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a deep bore tunnel is one example of our success in bringing regional leaders together to consider long-term solutions for the region. When that project is completed, future generations will see the benefit of a downtown that is connected to the waterfront. The deep bore tunnel is just one example of thoughtful management, planning and funding of transportation. Similarly, throughout Central Puget Sound, there are opportunities to reconnect communities severed by highway and freeway projects of the past.