County Transportation Metrics is a project of the Washington State Association of Counties (WSAC) and will provide a roadmap for setting transportation priorities.

Pierce County

Pierce County, located in southwestern Washington, encompasses an extremely wide range of elevations: from sea level on Puget Sound to 14,410 at the summit of Mount Rainier. The entire footprint of Mount Rainier lies within the county's boundaries.  The county is named after US President Franklin Pierce. The county seat is Tacoma, which is also the county's largest city.

Tacoma was founded in 1872. When the Northern Pacific Railroad announced in 1873 that its northwest terminus would locate in Tacoma, the city and surrounding county grew into a regional leader. The lumber industry helped the area to develop further. World War I brought an industrial boom as the region's lumber was used in local shipyards. The U.S. Army built Camp Lewis, which would later grow into Fort Lewis, on 70,000 acres of land on the Nisqually plain. In 1918, the voters created the Port of Tacoma, which began improving industrial waterways and facilities.

In the years following World War II, economic significance within the region began shifting when the Boeing Company established Seattle as a center for aircraft manufacturing. A stream of new software, biotechnology and Internet companies into the area led to an economic revival. This development prompted the Tacoma-Pierce area to begin transitioning out of its wood and paper products manufacturing.

Many Pierce County residents, looking to replace the manufacturing wages lost during the industrial transition, began commuting to jobs in King County. Today, more than 25 percent of the workforce in Pierce County travels to jobs in King County.

Pierce County has continued to diversify out of a manufacturing and resource-based economy into a more service-oriented one. The county serves as a healthcare provider for South Puget Sound, represented by MultiCare Health System, Franciscan Health System and DaVita.

Aerospace manufacturing plays a growing role with the Boeing Company. Facilities within the county produce vertical tail fins for several of the company's newer aircraft models as well as a number of related aircraft parts. Toray Composites is another firm related to the industry.

The Port of Tacoma and Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) comprise two traditional economic components of the local economy. Investments made in improving the Port's facilities together with its expanding role in the era of economic globalization have allowed it to handle growing volumes of shipments. The Port is a major center for bulk and heavy-lift cargoes, as well as automobiles and medium-duty trucks.

Population (OFM Databook, 2011) 

Population (2011) 802,150
Population Change (2000 to 2010)      1.6%
Land Area (Sq. Mi.) 1,669.51
Density (Population/Sq. Mi.) 480.47

Municipalities/Population 

Bonney Lake                                                      17,500
Buckley
4,345
Carbonado
610
DuPont
8,430
Eatonville
2,775
Edgewood
9,405
Fife
9,220
Fircrest
6,500
Gig Harbor
7,200
Lakewood
58,190
Orting
6,770
Puyallup 37,240
Roy 795
Ruston 750
South Prairie     435
Steilacoom
6,000
Sumner
9,450
Tacoma
198,900
University Place
31,170
Wilkeson
475

Major Highways

  • Interstate
  • Interstate 705
  • State Route 16 (Tacoma Narrows Bridge)
  • State Route 167
  • State Route 410
  • State Route 512

County Roads (CRAB and OFM, 2011)

Total Center Lane Miles
1,553.20
Maintenance Expenditures
$ 29,807,172
Preservation Expenditures
$ 16,186,508
Improvement Expenditures
$ 9,680,520
 

County Revenues  & Expenditures (OFM Databook, 2011)

Total Revenues
$ 611,080,680
Total Expenditures
$ 607,895,218
Transportation Expenditures
$ 74,339,168


Performance Measures

Links & Sources


Washington State Association of Counties
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