Island Transit plans future projects, more routes

With the construction of its new headquarters nearly complete, Island Transit leaders are looking for future projects.

The Island Transit board approved its six-year capital plan, which outlines the routes and park-and-ride lots that officials hope to add in coming years. Even though the projects are on transit officials’ radar, there is one crucial element missing.

“We don’t have the money to add any of those routes,” Island Transit Executive Director Martha Rose said. She added the agency doesn’t yet have the money to add park and ride lots either.

Even though there isn’t cash available, it’s important for transit officials to keep a list of potential projects. Then they can qualify for grants if they become available.

The updated list comes as Island Transit’s new headquarters nears completion. Staff recently moved in and landscaping continues on the campus located on Highway 20 near Outlying Field.

The expansion project, which included a new administration and operations center along with a larger maintenance bay, cost $22.4 million and $17.9 million of that came from a federal grant.

The project list includes several additional routes for the Langley area — the Langley Circular ($677,000), Langley/Clinton via Wilkinson Road ($697,000), and Central Langley to Freeland via Goss Lake ($718,000).

Other potential new routes are extending Route 3 to Monkey Hill Road via Jones Road ($522,000), Houston Road to Freeland ($740,000), and North Oak Harbor Bay ($381,000).

Rose said Island Transit has purchased land for two additional park and ride lots, but officials are looking for funding to pay for them. Those future commuter lots are located at the intersection of Highway 525 and Race Road and near the intersection of Highway 525 and Bush Point Road.

The six-year capital improvement plan has a couple of items that Rose described as “pie-in-the-sky” projects.

The first is a tunnel, called the Kinneth Underpass, which would allow pedestrians and hikers a safe passage across the highway near Island Transit’s campus. That project is estimated to cost $1.5 million. Rose said Island Transit tried to get a grant to fund the project, but the agency didn’t get the award.

Another project is the solar shuttle, which she said would be a demonstration project for a solar-powered shuttle, that would be a demonstration of solar-powered vehicles in the form of a pod car. She said no money has been spent on such a project.