WA: Group Approves Pierce Transit Map That Excludes Some East Pierce Cities

March 09--A group charged with redrawing Pierce Transit's boundaries approved a map Thursday night that excludes several communities in east Pierce County and will cost the agency millions of dollars in sales-tax revenue.

The boundaries exclude Orting, Bonney Lake, Buckley and DuPont, as well as sections of unincorporated eastern and western Pierce County. It reduces the transit agency's 530-square-mile territory by more than 200 square miles.

Pierce County Council has 30 days to terminate the new boundaries or they will be instated. Cities have 60 days to opt out of Pierce Transit if they're unhappy with the redrawn boundaries.

Several East Pierce communities, such as Sumner, Bonney Lake, Buckley and Orting, already have done so, saying they don't want to pay money for a service that their residents aren't provided.

There was some concern that Auburn would have to drop out once service to Sumner halted because the city would become an island cut off from the rest of the transit district, but officials said they have created a corridor to keep Auburn connected.

The boundaries were unanimously approved at a public hearing Thursday by a Public Transportation Improvement Conference, which included representatives from most towns and cities in Pierce County, and from county government itself.

Redrawing the boundaries was triggered by last year's cuts that reduced or eliminated transit service to parts of the county.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653

stacia.glenn@thenewstribune.com

Copyright 2012 - The News Tribune, Tacoma, Wash.

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