Puget Sound Regional Council
The Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) is a metropolitan planning organization that serves the Puget Sound region: King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish Counties. It makes decisions about transportation planning, economic development and growth management. It is a forum for cities, towns, counties, transit agencies, port districts, Native American tribes, and state agencies to address regional issues. The region's population is estimated at over 4.2 million people. PSRC has a set of elected officials from its member agencies, who meet annually in a General Assembly to approve the budget and elect new leaders. A 32-member Executive Board meets monthly. Most of the funding (74%) for PSRC comes from the Federal government.
The Growth Management Policy Board meets monthly to advise the Executive Board on key growth management issues. Agendas are posted before the meetings, meetings are recorded, and there is possibility for public comment.
The Transportation Policy Board meets monthly to advise the Executive Board on key transportation issues. Agendas are posted before the meetings, meetings are recorded, and there is possibility for public comment.
PSRC has adopted a long range plan, Vision 2050. It forecasts a population growth of 1.8 million people by 2050, or about 42%. From the report:
VISION 2050 is a call for personal and institutional action to address long-term regional challenges, including racial and social inequality, climate change, housing affordability, and imbalance of jobs and housing around the region
Vision 2050 calls for:
a Four-Part Greenhouse Gas Strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conduct an analysis of regional emission reduction strategies, and engage in regional resilience planning.
prioritizes transportation investments that support regional growth and manufacturing/ industrial centers and emphasizes completing regional transportation projects planned through 2040
supports the work of the Puget Sound Partnership to promote a coordinated approach to watershed planning and restoring the health of Puget Sound
attracting 65% of population growth to the region’s growth centers and high-capacity transit station areas, leveraging unprecedented investments to expand public transit throughout the region
The Growth Management Act requires multi-county planning policies for the central Puget Sound region. PSRC's role is to provide a common planning framework for cities and counties as they develop their comprehensive plans. Vision 2050 foresees only minor changes to the Urban Growth Area in the coming year, and plans for most growth to happen within that area: it calls for 65% of the region’s population growth and 75% of the region’s employment growth to be located in regional growth centers and within walking distance of high-capacity transit. It calls for more jobs to be created in Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties, and for more affordable housing near job centers in King County.
PSRC Vision 2050 calls for reductions in GHG of 50% below 1990 levels by 2030, and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Beyond the transit-oriented development already specified, it also calls for "development patterns that create attractive, compact, and walkable environments, and that encourage location of new residential and commercial construction close to services and amenities, lessening the need for driving". It assumes a transition to a user fee system for transportation that includes "selected facility tolls and a road usage charge system, after 2025". For more details see the Four-Part Greenhouse Gas Strategy.
Regional Transportation Plan
PSRC has a Regional Transportation Plan, which is updated every four years, most recently in 2018. It details the projects already in progress in the region, with some goals for improvement in the next cycle.
After adopting the Transportation Plan, PSRC did a Climate Analysis to determine what policies would be necessary to meet the near term greenhouse gas emission reduction goal of 50% by 2030. They found that no single policy would achieve the goal, but that a combination of different policies might work. These include:
Road usage charge of 25 cents per mile
Increased work from home
EVs as 100% of personal vehicle sales by 2030
They also noted that land use changes for improved transit usage would be critical for meeting 2050 goals, but could not be done soon enough to make a difference for 2030.
Regional Open Space Conservation Plan
The Open Space Conservation Plan maps the regionally important open space in King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties and identifies priority actions needed to increase access and sustain open spaces for the long term.