With Snohomish County’s population expected to grow 27% in the next 20 years, Community Transit is planning to expand transit service to ensure it can meet current and future transportation needs.
Expanding transit service requires updated and larger operational facilities to house and maintain more buses, employ more staff, and train new drivers. This week, Community Transit held its first in-person event since March 2020 to commemorate the base expansion and thank employees.
U.S. Reps Suzan DelBene and Rick Larsen, Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers, State Sen. Marko Liias, and State Reps April Berg, Shelley Kloba, Mike Sells, and Emily Wicks, joined Community Transit board members and employees for an official ground breaking on the expansion of the agency’s Merrill Creek Operations Base.
“Today is special and symbolic of our bright future ahead,” said Lake Stevens City Council member and Community Transit Board Chair Kim Daughtry. “This project is incredibly vital for the future of public transit in the county. It will ensure that the agency has the ability to continue to provide the reliable and essential service that has proven to be critical for so many over the past many months.”
Two buildings at the Merrill Creek base will be renovated, one each for maintenance and operations. The maintenance building will be expanded by adding six large bus bays that are capable of servicing articulated and double-deck buses. In addition, two current bays will be upgraded for larger buses, and new hoists will be added at all 20 bays. Without this expansion, the agency would not have the capacity to maintain the new buses needed to operate the planned Swift Orange Line in 2024.
For the operations building to be renovated, administrative staff will move out of Merrill Creek to a newly renovated building near the agency’s Kasch Park Operations Base.
The $123.5 million base expansion program will be implemented in multiple phases over seven years, with major work due to be completed in 2024. Sound Transit Link light rail will arrive in Snohomish County that same year, and the Swift Orange Line and Swift Blue Line expansion will deliver new levels of frequent bus service to connect with light rail.
To watch the speakers at the groundbreaking event, click here.