CEO Corner

Image of Peter Rogoff, Sound Transit CEO

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.

Peter Rogoff, Sound Transit Chief Executive Officer

CEO Report for January 29, 2016


University Link take-off

University Link passenger service begins Saturday, March 19.

With that simple announcement Tuesday from Board Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine and Boardmember and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, you could feel the excitement throughout the region.
The U Link launch is a big deal for Sound Transit and, really, everyone around Central Puget Sound.

We’ll have celebrations at the new University of Washington and Capitol Hill stations that Saturday to show off our trains and welcome riders. We’ll talk about the new eight-minute ride between the UW and downtown Seattle. We’ll go over cool construction facts like the 97,000 cubic yards of soil removed to build the Capitol Hill Station or the 7,000 cubic yards of concrete, 20,000 linear feet of electrical conduit and a million pounds of rebar used on the University of Washington Station floor.

But the fact I’m so thrilled about is that after the opening, and for decades to come, this will be the everyday way that people get around. Right now we carry about 35,000 riders a day on our Link trains. After U Link opens, we expect that number to jump to 55,000 a day. By 2021, Link ridership will be at about 80,000 a day and growing.

People in the community are taking notice. Binko Bisbee, owner of KOBO stores on North Broadway and on South Jackson Street, believes the new U Link stations will promote exploration between neighborhoods and help ease Seattle’s frustrating traffic and parking. “I’m excited about how it will give us more options,” she said.

Sierra Hansen, Executive Director of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, said opening the Capitol Hill Station is one of the most anticipated events in the last 20 years. Riders from downtown, South Seattle and the University District will reach Capitol Hill in a fraction of the time it currently takes, she said.

And sports fans visiting Husky Stadium and Alaska Airlines Arena will quickly appreciate the new University of Washington Station with its platforms big enough to hold 1,500 passengers.

Details for the March 19 celebration are here. Join us. It will be quite a party.

Coming from the Department of Transportation and seeing new rail and bus lines open across the country, it never fails to impress me how much mass transit changes lives. 

Milestones point to a historic 2016

Every January for the past 14 years we have announced our major milestones for the upcoming year. It’s like our own version of  New Year’s resolutions. On Thursday, I presented the 2016 milestones to the Sound Transit Board. We have 18 milestones this year and together they underscore what a huge, exciting year we have in store.

Right off the top we have the U link launch March 19. Later we’ll open the 1.6-mile line from Sea-Tac Airport to the Angle Lake Station at South 200th Street. That means that this year riders will have a one-seat train ride from Angle Lake to shopping and jobs in downtown and Capitol Hill as well as classes at the UW.

Also in 2016 we’ll provide 32,000 additional hours of service for our ST Express bus riders. A little-known fact: ST Express ranks first in the nation in the number of commuter bus passengers carried and in vehicle miles driven.

In 2016 we’ll add another Sounder round-trip on our south line to meet growing demand.
We will break ground on East Link to serve the important cities on the Eastside. We will complete the Northgate Link tunnels, which will bring us closer to our 2021 opening.

In addition, we’re scheduled to adopt a ST3 System Plan and send it to voters in November to decide if we should expand our regional system in anticipation of the growth we know is coming. You can read the entire milestone list here.

It’s quite a year. We’re firing on all cylinders and ready to go. I couldn’t be happier leading this team and helping the region become more mobile. 

News Notes:

  • Dave Somers, Snohomish County Executive, Nancy Backus, Auburn Mayor and Rob Johnson, Seattle Councilmember, all joined the Sound Transit Board on Thursday.
  • Sound Transit’s Citizen Oversight Panel gave its Annual Report to the Board on Thursday. Read the report here.

--Peter Rogoff, Sound Transit CEO