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CEO Corner

Joni Earl

Our job is building a mass transit system that connects you with the Puget Sound region. As Sound Transit's CEO, I can assure you that everyone here - including our Board of Directors, staff and consultants - is committed to bringing you safe and reliable service.

Joni Earl, Sound Transit Chief Executive Officer

CEO Report for September 26, 2014


South 200th Link Extension construction

On a rainy Wednesday morning, Sound Transit Boardmembers, stakeholders and the media got an up-close look at early construction on Link's Angle Lake Station and parking garage at South 200th Street in SeaTac.

This is our first major design-build construction project and it's going very well. The program was introduced by Dave Upthegrove, Sound Transit Boardmember and King County Councilmember.  Dow Constantine, Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive, also spoke along with Mia Gregerson, SeaTac Mayor and State Representative.

When light rail service begins in late 2016, the South 200th Extension will include a 1.6-mile elevated guideway running between Sea-Tac Airport and the new elevated Angle Lake Station, a 1,050-stall parking garage, plaza and retail space and a 35,000-square-foot site for future transit-oriented development.  Find more project information at

Long-Range Plan update

Yesterday the Sound Transit Board heard about the extensive public input received this summer as the Board prepares to update the regional transit Long-Range Plan. During the 45-day comment period that included six public meetings, Sound Transit collected more than 700 written and verbal comments and nearly 12,200 responses to an online survey. Public involvement also included cities, agencies, tribes and other regional stakeholders.

In the non-scientific survey, 95 percent of respondents support expanded regional transit, with particularly high interest in light rail service extensions. People also cited support for providing access and connections for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers at stations, and for transit-oriented development opportunities created by transit expansion. Many also offered specific suggestions in their geographic areas.

The input is shaping the completion of a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. After a Board workshop in late October and completion of the final SEIS in November, the Board will review possible changes to the Long-Range Plan and consider adopting an updated plan in December. Updating the plan enables the Board to consider advancing a future ballot measure for voter consideration.

Service change starts

Starting this weekend, service changes are coming on a few ST Express bus routes. There are no changes to Link, Tacoma Link or Sounder trains. Highlights of the ST Express changes include new trips on routes 522, 555 and 556 as well as select trips extending to Dupont Station on Route 594.

Because of King County Metro service reductions, we're telling our riders to expect crowding on peak ST Express routes 522, 545, 550 and 554. A team that includes representatives from Sound Transit and King County Metro are working together to monitor Metro and Sound Transit Eastside bus service and address any issues after the service changes.

Proposed 2015 budget unveiled

Sound Transit's proposed 2015 budget was released to the Sound Transit Board on Thursday. This action kicks off a process throughout the fall that includes staff presentations to the Board committees, a public hearing and the Board's adoption of the budget late this year.

As we told the Board on Thursday, growth is a major theme in 2015. That growth will be evidenced by a record number of passengers - more than 32 million - on our trains and buses. It will also be visible in four light rail extensions that will be under construction: Northgate, East Link, University Link and South 200th.

Two of those extensions, University Link and South 200th, are in the final phase of construction and will open for service in 2016. In preparation, a series of rail activation activities, including train and systems testing, will take place in 2015.

Sound Transit's proposed 2015 budget is $1.2 billion. We expect to collect revenues of $933 million, which is 1.4 percent higher than the 2014 budget, mainly due to higher sales tax revenues, motor vehicle excise tax and local/state contributions. Our operating budget for the year is $229 million.

 The Sound Transit Board on Thursday:

  • Authorized the chief executive officer to acquire or lease certain real property interests including acquisition by condemnation, and to reimburse eligible relocation and re-establishment expenses incurred by affected owners and tenants as necessary for the East Link Extension;
  • Authorized the chief executive officer to acquire or lease certain real property interests, including acquisition by condemnation, and to reimburse eligible relocation and reestablishment expenses incurred by affected owners and tenants as necessary for the Sounder Yard Expansion Project;
  • Amended the Adopted 2014 Budget for the Overlake Village Bridge Project to increase the Project Lifetime Budget by $3,288,000 and increase the 2014 Annual Budget by $590,847 for Overlake Village improvements being funded by an agreement with the City of Redmond;
  • Authorized the chief executive officer to execute a three-year labor agreement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 46 covering Senior Facilities Specialists and Facilities Specialists in the Operations Department; and
  • Authorized travel and approved payment of expenses for Boardmember Paul Roberts to attend Rail~Volution in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn., from Sept. 21 through Sept. 24, 2014, and to attend the 2014 Regional Leadership Conference in Cle Elum, Wash., from Oct. 15 through Oct. 17, 2014.


Mike Harbour, Deputy CEOMike Harbour, Sound Transit Acting CEO