by Harold S. Taniguchi
Director, King County Dept. of Transportation
Executive Constantine announced this week that he is working with the County Council to make a big change: In early 2019, Metro Transit will become a stand-alone County department, no longer part of the Department of Transportation.
This change makes sense. Public transportation is a top priority for the Executive and our region. Population and job growth mean that Metro must provide more and better travel options for all who live and work here—and Metro has a long-range plan for doing just that.
By becoming a department, Metro will be in a better position to partner with other agencies, to deliver the large increases in service and the investments in facilities and vehicles that will be needed, and to grow and support its top-notch workforce. Building upon the strength of General Manager Rob Gannon’s leadership, and the momentum of the division, now is simply a good time for this reorganization.
Much needs to be done over the year ahead. The Executive will be working with Council members this fall to shape their expectations and a framework for Metro’s new structure. Metro will be working on its own internal plans for moving forward as a department.
For the public, the services we deliver every day won’t be affected. The elevation of Metro to the department level is an opportunity for the rest of the department to take a fresh look at how we can best serve the people of King County. Our division directors and I will be actively listening and responding to questions, concerns and ideas as we work toward a successful transition and continue providing outstanding service to the public.