Metro describes benefits of future bus base to city leaders

Jeff Arbuckle

Jeff Arbuckle

King County’s population has grown by more than 2 percent every year since 1980, from 1.3 million people in 1980 to more than 2 million in 2014.

By 2040, King County Metro expects 360,000 more people will be here, instantiating a 70 percent increase in demand for its services that will call for 2.5 million more service hours on its bus routes, and 625 more buses.

A big part of the agency’s planning for that future is to have its new bus base in Kent or in Auburn up and running by 2030 to house and maintain 250 battery-electric buses.

By the end of 2020, King County Metro expects to decide where it will be: Site A, 25 to 38 acres of industrially-zoned property at 196th St and 68th Avenue South in Kent; Site B, 18 acres of commercially-zoned property at 277th and D streets Northeast in Auburn; or Site C: 38 acres of industrially-zoned property at 37th and B streets Northwest in Auburn.

The sites are not listed in any order of preference, though Metro’s top criteria are 30 acres of flat land with access to major freeways and arterials.

On Monday evening, Jeff Arbuckle, capital projects managing supervisor for King County Metro’s Operational Capacity Program, explained the benefits of the bus base to the Auburn City Council.

By deploying an all-electric fleet, Arbuckle said, Metro expects to make a meaningful contribution to the community by improving air quality in South King County.

Metro expects the base to support 250 electric buses at an estimated cost of $480 million, which includes purchasing the site, building and opening the base.

That investment, Arbuckle said, will allow Metro to explore partnerships in the community, among them training and apprenticeship programs, and by providing a base for economic development, 400 to 600 jobs during planning, construction and long-term operation.

“Our new base in South King County is expected to maximize the time a bus spends in revenue service and reduce the time spent traveling without riders by siting the facility near the start and end points of major routes,” Arbuckle said.

Here’s what’s ahead

2020: Select the site

2024: Wrap up land acquisition

2026: Begin construction

2030: Be open.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

New company comes to the rescue of Auburn senior

Donna Goodman was a senior citizen living in an Auburn mobile home… Continue reading

Screenshot from Gov. Jay Inslee’s press conference on Aug. 5, 2020.
Inslee says schools in virus hot spots should stay closed

King County among high-risk counties; several school districts will have remote learning in the fall.

File photo
Road rager points gun at gas station | Auburn police blotter

Auburn Police responded to the following calls for service, among many others,… Continue reading

Courtesy photo
Race car vs. golf cart collision | Fire blotter

Between July 27 and Aug. 2, the Valley Regional Fire Authority responded… Continue reading

King County Election headquarters in Renton on Aug. 4 for the primary election. Haley Ausbun/staff photo
Inslee and Culp lead governor race; incumbent Dems ahead for Congress | Statewide results

Early results for governor, state schools chief, attorney general and more.

Courtesy of Mountain View Fire and Rescue
Mountain View Fire and Rescue levy is passing

Service area includes unincorporated King County near the cities of Auburn, Enumclaw and Kent.

Democrats dominate King County legislative races | Election results

Here are the latest results for King County legislative candidates in the… Continue reading

Primary election 2020: Who will emerge as Inslee’s challenger?

Voting ends Tuesday in an election without big rallies and fund-raisers and face-to-face debates

Most Read