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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 April 17, 2015


Governor at U Link station

Earlier this afternoon Gov. Jay Inslee met with Sound Transit Boardmembers and other local, state and national leaders at the nearly completed University of Washington light rail station. Together they called on the Legislature to pass a transportation investment package that authorizes full funding authority for a potential Sound Transit 3 ballot measure next year.

Those on hand for the media event and station tour included: Congressman Jim McDermott; Dow Constantine, King County Executive and Sound Transit Board Chair; Marilyn Strickland, Tacoma Mayor and Sound Transit Board Vice Chair; Lynn Peterson, Washington State Secretary of Transporation and Sound Transit Boardmember; State Sen. Dave Frockt ; State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Wells and State Rep. Jake Fey, who is also a former Sound Transit Boardmember.

The University of Washington Station is scheduled to open in early 2016. The station is part of the 3.1-mile University Link line running from downtown Seattle to Capitol Hill and the UW. The line is opening in first quarter 2016 and is about $150 million under budget.

Legislators are currently negotiating a new transportation investment package that could include authorization to fund Sound Transit 3, which would extend light rail with new connections north to Everett and south to Tacoma. The current House proposal would authorize $15 billion in new funding, which allows for full completion of ST3 projects.

Board meeting preview

The Board meeting next Thursday, April 23, will be significant in a number of ways.

First, the Board will consider approving the baseline schedule and budget for the East Link light rail project. This is an incredibly complex project, 14 miles in length with 10 stations serving four cities, the I-90 floating bridge, new and retrofitted tunnels and two bicycle/pedestrian bridges. Construction is scheduled to begin next year with trains running in 2023.

The Board will also consider approving an amended Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Bellevue that will allow us to move forward with construction of the East Link light rail extension. The amended MOU and a proposed three-party agreement with King County and Bellevue also address the proposed Operations and Maintenance Satellite Facility, should the Board select the BNSF site in Bellevue following publication of the final EIS later this year.

Also on the agenda is the Lynnwood Link Extension. The Board next week will consider selecting the project to be built for the 8.5-mile extension between Northgate and Lynnwood. This is also a complicated project serving four jurisdictions and involving difficult choices on route and stations. Lynnwood Link construction is scheduled to begin in 2018 with trains running in 2023.

And there is more.

We will ask the Board to approve moving forward with the Capitol Hill Transit-Oriented Development project, our largest TOD effort to date. This project will have a significant positive impact on the entire Capitol Hill community and is the result of years of work with Sound Transit, the City of Seattle and many community stakeholders. Transit-Oriented Development is very important to the agency and to the Sound Transit Board. It includes planning and building a mix of housing, business and other amenities close to transit stations, makes it easier for people to use transit, supports local businesses and makes neighborhoods better places to live.

Sounder to M's

The Mariners season began a couple weeks ago, but for Sounder it starts this Sunday with a game against the Texas Rangers. Like in previous seasons, Sounder trains take fans from Lakewood in the south and Everett in the north to King Street Station, which is a short walk to Safeco Field. Return trains depart 35 minutes after the final out.

And, as always, you can ride Link light rail trains or ST Express buses to all the games. The schedule is here.


Mike Harbour, Sound Transit Acting CEO