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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 October 31, 2014

 

Board workshop

At its workshop on Thursday, The Sound Transit Board discussed updating the agency's Long-Range Plan, including possible funding options to expand mass transit once current projects are finished in 2023. The Board also went over the process of public engagement that will kick off in January after the Board updates the Long-Range Plan.

As expansion alternatives are explored, a major priority for the region will be securing the additional funding authority from the Legislature that is needed to put plans before voters in November 2016 or thereafter. Thursday's workshop reviewed potential sales tax, motor vehicle excise tax and/or property tax funding options for a hypothetical 15-year package generally similar in size to Sound Transit 2. This illustration assumed $15 billion capital cost plus about another $5 billion for operating, maintaining and financing the expanded system. The Seattle Transit Blog covered the workshop discussion and The Seattle Times ran a front-page article.

The public's outpouring of comments on the LRP and a survey that Sound Transit fielded this summer reflect strong support for continuing expansion of transit as the region's population grows.

The Sound Transit Board's Executive Committee next Thursday will talk about the agency's 2015 legislative agenda, which will shape the funding options that we'll seek in Olympia. The full Board is expected to discuss it on Nov. 20.

Thornton Creek spill

I wanted to give a shout-out to our Northgate Link Extension tunnel contractors, JCM Northlink LLC, for their quick response to a recent diesel spill into Thornton Creek near Northgate.

The spill happened when a semi-truck that was involved in an accident lost the contents of its fuel tank on Interstate 5 just north of Northgate Way. About 40 gallons spilled onto the freeway, into a storm drain and then Thornton Creek.

But crews from JCM working downstream noticed the diesel smell and quickly put down absorbent material to trap the fuel and slow its migration downstream. That fast action helped minimize the spill's impact downstream and allow others to focus on the creek's cleanup.

South Bellevue open house

Want to learn more about the East Link light rail project and the South Bellevue station design? An open house next Thursday evening will give people a chance to see the station and parking garage designs as well as learn more about early construction work coming in 2015 and 2016 along Bellevue Way SE and 112th Avenue SE.

The work starting in 2015 includes developing traffic impact plans, relocating utilities and the ongoing coordination with project partners to refine construction schedules and duration.

The open house is Thursday, Nov. 6, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Enatai Elementary School, 10615 SE 23rd St. in Bellevue. A presentation begins at 5:30 p.m.

When trains are running in 2023, the 14-mile East Link Extension will have 10 stations serving Seattle, Mercer Island, Bellevue, Bel-Red and Overlake in Redmond.

Sounder to Seahawks

The Seahawks are back in town Sunday and we'll be there with our special Sounder service as well as our regular Link trains and ST Express buses.

Sounder trains leave from Lakewood in the south and Everett in the north and take fans to King Street Station near CenturyLink Field.

Many ST Express bus routes also serve the stadium area and Link offers all-day rides to Stadium and International District stations from downtown Seattle, Beacon Hill, the Rainier Valley, Tukwila and SeaTac. Parking is available at Tukwila International Blvd Station and for weekend games, discounted paid parking is available at SeaTac/Airport Station. You can park in the airport garage for half-price on all Friday, Saturday and Sunday game days and take Link to the stadium.

Mike Harbour, Deputy CEOMike Harbour, Sound Transit Acting CEO