Renton city leaders, commuters want more out of Sound Transit expansion

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SEATTLE -- Sound Transit board members got an earful from communities vying for better access to rail and bus lines.

City leaders and taxpayers in Renton are especially upset that Sound Transit’s latest plan (ST3) gives them little hope for better service.

According to Renton City Council President Randy Corman, Renton taxpayers have already shelled out nearly $500 million into Sound Transit over the past 20 years. But city leaders and commuters worry they may not get enough rapid bus lines, and so far there is no plan for light rail for Renton.

Only a few Sound Transit and RapidRide buses service King County’s fourth largest city.

“We’ve watched as other cities have received light rail or generous amounts of parking,” said Corman.

But after decades of pumping big bucks into Sound Transit, the latest proposal for ST3 hasn’t been a hit for South King County riders.

“There’s a lot of people here, tons of people that go down to Seattle every day to commute,” said commuter Jay Webley.

“It would be really helpful if the train did come here,” commuter Kevin Neang said. “That way I wouldn’t have to do multiple stops every day.”

Renton city officials worry the handful of additional RapidRide buses and a brand new transit center proposed in ST3 isn’t fair considering the large sum of money that local taxpayers have already invested.

“Renton has felt behind the curve in respect to Sound Transit investments in past years,” Corman said to the Sound Transit board on Thursday.

While other areas of the Puget Sound could see expanded light rail, ST3’s current draft doesn’t bring the link to Renton.

Corman said the board should consider the city’s explosive population growth.

“I think they’re missing out a large part of their supporters,” Corman said. “I think the bond issue would go more smoothly if there was a lot of consideration from Renton, and I think in the long term they would get a lot more riders.”

South King County riders said they would be pleased with more options, and hope light rail would soon be added to proposals.

“This is where it needs to be,” said Webley.

“It would be a lot closer because the train is a lot closer than the bus stop,” Neang said.

Sound Transit board members will continue taking public comment on the ST3 draft plan through June.

In November, voters will decide the fate of the $54 billion price tag.