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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 January 23, 2015

2015 Milestones

We expect that 2015 will be an amazing year of record ridership, continuing construction and testing towards the launch of two new light rail extensions next year. Those are some of the highlights from the 2015 Milestones, which were unveiled to the Sound Transit Board on Thursday.

As we told the Board, we expect to have about 34 million boardings on our trains and buses this year, the most ever. Northgate Link light rail tunneling will reach the Roosevelt and U District stations. Service testing will be underway in preparation for the University Link launch early next year and, at the same time, we'll be preparing the South 200th Link Extension for launch in 2016. We'll also be working on the agency System Plan in anticipation of a potential future ballot measure to extend the regional transit system.

For a complete list of the 2015 Milestones visit here. You'll see that the milestones this year are challenging and we're looking forward to working on them as the months go by. Last year we checked off 25 of 34 milestones, with many of those unfinished milestones scheduled for completion early this year.

Sustainability targets

Last year was a very good year for our Sustainability program. In 2014, we finished 15 of 17 sustainability targets.

In fact we've had several good years. Through 2014 we've completed 150 sustainability targets, 80 percent of our annual targets and maintained our APTA Gold Sustainability Commitment. A summary of the sustainability targets was presented to the Board on Thursday, along with our 2015 targets and three-year update to the Sustainability Plan.
We're working to make Sound Transit and the region cleaner and greener by implementing conservation strategies, modifying design criteria and carrying out sustainable design and construction.

In other words, we'll continue to be busy this year making sure that sustainability remains a big part of what we do.

Strong survey support

Results from a recent survey that was presented to the Sound Transit Board on Thursday shows 70 percent support among voters in the Sound Transit District for a potential regional transit ballot measure.

The survey, by EMC Research, asked 1,500 randomly selected voters about a hypothetical measure for $15 billion in regional transit investments, including approximately 30 additional miles of light rail.

In the coming months the Sound Transit Board will explore the principles, projects and investment levels on a System Plan that could lead to a ballot measure as early as November 2016. The process began Thursday with an early discussion on shaping the plan.

In addition, public meetings around the region as well as online involvement opportunities on the System Plan will begin this summer. Sound Transit is also working to secure additional local revenue authority from the Washington State Legislature necessary for a ballot measure to be considered by voters..


Mike Harbour, Sound Transit Acting CEO


The Sound Transit Board on Thursday

  • Approved the declaration of surplus real property acquired for the Initial Segment of the Central Link Light Rail project, and authorizing the initiation of negotiations for the disposition of property interests to the Washington State Convention Center Public Facilities District.
  • Approved the increase in the contingency for the civil final design services contract with Jacobs Associates for the Northgate Link Extension in the amount of $8,200,000, for a new total authorized contract amount not to exceed $100,008,106.
  • Approved a contract amendment with CH2M Hill, Inc. to provide professional services for Phase 3 of the Tacoma Link Expansion in the amount of $1,708,647, with a contingency of $108,039, totaling $1,816,686, for a new total authorized contract amount not to exceed $5,581,698, and (2) approving Gate 3 within Sound Transit's Phase Gate process.
  • Adopted the Point Defiance Bypass baseline schedule and budget by adopting March 2017 as the project completion milestone, and establishing a baseline budget of $128,000,000; and (2) approving Gate 5 within Sound Transit's Phase Gate process.
  • Implemented the Sustainability Plan - 2015 Update to continue the integration of sustainable business practices and strategies throughout the Sound Transit organization.
  • Approved a three-year contract with two one-year options with Aon Risk Services to provide insurance brokerage and consulting services for the Rail Operations Insurance Program for a total authorized contract amount not to exceed $1,230,000.
  • Established the annual compensation for Michael Harbour, acting chief executive officer.