The transit agency for the Seattle area has reached out to agencies via RFP as its department of communications and external affairs seeks to develop lesson plans and school curricula materials for students K-12 on transportation topics.

Sound Transit, which this week tapped incumbent Cocker Fennessy for a separate strategic communications pact after a March RFP, foresees transit topics incorporated into sciences, social studies, math and English studies that would foster “use and support of transit services.”

The plans have been criticized in Seattle media and blogs, but ST officials told bidders in a pre-proposal conference that the attention has not represented a “reasonable concern” to halt the RFP process.

Mike Ennis, director of the Washington Policy Center's Center for Transportation, told Seattle’s King5 News: “They are not supposed to be going into the classroom and targeting kids with their agenda.”

“Desired outcomes include contributing to students’ academic learning while demystifying transit during students’ early years and overcoming barriers to transit ridership, including expanded awareness of transit ability to increase riders’ personal independence by reducing reliance on automobiles while attaining environmental sustainability,” reads the RFP.

Proposals are due May 10. [RFP can be viewed at]

Sound Transit said April 26 that Cocker Fennessy won its review for a six-figure contract to guide strategic communications for the transportation system.

The Seattle-based firm is led by two former communications directors for the Port of Seattle, Rick Cocker and Ann Fennessy.

CF, which has worked with the transit agency since 2002, will ink a year-long contract with three options after winning the RFP released on March 3.

Sound Transit works with outside PR/PA counsel to inform the public about voter-approved transit projects and other endeavors. The region’s light rail system is being expanded through 2016.