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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 December 19, 2014

A big step toward future mass transit expansion

Yesterday the Sound Transit Board adopted an updated Long-Range Plan, the blueprint for how and where the regional transit system could expand in the future. This is an exciting milestone for Sound Transit and the Puget Sound region. Our region is growing, and adopting the Long-Range Plan allows us to advance the conversation about meeting rising demand.

Next year Sound Transit will begin shaping a regional Sound Transit 3 ballot measure by reaching out to the public to learn more about your priorities for system expansion and potential options. Following this process, the Board could forward a measure for voter consideration as soon as November 2016.

You can find information on the updated plan at soundtransit.org/LongRangePlan

New express bus route, increased transit integration

The Board also approved next year's plan for service implementation. The major change is the addition of a new bus route, ST Express 580, between Lakewood and Puyallup. This weekday peak-period service will be timed to meet Sounder trains at Puyallup Station. It will begin service in June 2015.

In preparation for opening Link light rail service to Capitol Hill and the University of Washington in early 2016, Sound Transit and King County Metro are working closely to integrate services for operational efficiencies. Together our staffs will develop proposals for an integrated bus-rail service network in this corridor that will be presented to the Sound Transit Board in mid-2015 and coordinated with King County Metro service change proposals. The agencies will conduct a joint public outreach process early next year.

2015 budget supports light rail extensions

Sound Transit's Board-approved $1.2 billion budget for 2015 supports major light rail expansions, anticipates carrying more than 32 million riders and prepares for a future ballot measure for regional transit system expansion.

Major light rail project funding in the 2015 budget includes:

  • $121 million to complete station construction, systems installation and testing for University Link, opening in early 2016;
  • $90.4 million for construction on the South 200th Link Extension, also opening in 2016;
  • $208 million for Northgate Link construction;
  • $143 million for East Link pre-construction work ; and
  • $16.3 million for Lynnwood Link to finish preliminary engineering and move into final design.

The budget also includes $19.7 million to replace 22 ST Express buses, including five new double-decker buses to be used on Snohomish County - Seattle routes, and to overhaul seven Sounder locomotive engines.

Holiday service schedule

Christmas Eve (Dec. 24): All buses and trains on regular schedules.

Christmas Day (Dec. 25): Link light rail on Sunday schedule. ST Express bus routes 512, 522, 535, 545, 550, 554, 560, 574, 577, 578 and 594 will run on Sunday schedule; other ST Express routes will not operate. Sounder trains will not operate.

New Year's Eve (Dec. 31): ST Express buses and Sounder trains on regular schedules. Link and Tacoma Link will run later at night for holiday festivities.

New Year's Day (Jan. 1): Link light rail on Sunday schedule. ST Express bus routes 512, 522, 535, 545, 550, 554, 560, 574, 577, 578 and 594 will run on Sunday schedule; other ST Express routes will not operate. Sounder trains will not operate.

Thank you

As 2014 comes to a close, I want to thank you for your interest in and support for our work. We have had a very busy year and I am pleased our major projects continue to progress well. I am particularly pleased with our continued progress on the U Link extension that will allow us to open service to Capitol Hill and the University of Washington in early 2016.

On behalf of the Sound Transit Board and staff, best wishes for a happy holiday season. The next CEO Report will be Jan. 2, 2015, which from here looks like the start of a busy year!

Mike Harbour, Sound Transit Acting CEO


The Sound Transit Board on Thursday:

  • Updated the agency's Regional Transit Long-Range Plan to guide the long-term development of the regional high-capacity transportation system
  • Adopted the 2015 Service Implementation Plan, authorizing the chief executive officer to implement recommended service changes in 2015
  • Adopted an annual budget for the period from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2015
  • Amended the University Link Adopted 2014 Annual Budget from $146,865,783 to $208,689,716, and amended the Northgate Link Extension Adopted 2014 Annual Budget from $138,638,600 to $267,769,271
  • Amended the Adopted 2014 Budget in the amount of $3,089,925 to pay the City of Seattle for operations and maintenance of the First Hill Streetcar Connector, per the terms of the Funding and Cooperative Agreement with the City of Seattle for the Implementation of the First Hill Streetcar Connector Project as amended by the Board through Motion No. M2014-59
  • Authorized the chief executive officer to execute an operating agreement with the National Railroad Passenger Corporation to allow inter-city and inter-state passenger service to operate on the Sound Transit Lakeview owned rail corridor between Nisqually and Tacoma
  • Ratified the chief executive officer's finding of the existence of an emergency regarding the discovery of problems with gear units and traction motors on Sound Transit's fleet of light rail vehicles, and authorized the chief executive officer to increase the contingency with KINKISHARYO International, L.L.C./Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.) Inc. Joint Venture for a sole source contract to provide the materials, labor and equipment necessary to complete the required repairs to Sound Transit's fleet of light rail vehicles in the amount of $5,000,000, for a new total authorized contract amount not to exceed $250,570,841.
  • Authorized the chief executive officer to extend the existing interagency operations and maintenance agreement regarding Tacoma Dome Station Garage with Pierce Transit through March 31, 2015
  • Authorized the chief executive officer to execute a contract amendment with Turner Construction Company to increase the contingency for the construction of the Capitol Hill Station within the University Link Project in the amount of $5,000,000, for a new total authorized contract amount not to exceed $115,092,790
  • Authorized the chief executive officer to execute a contract amendment with Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc. to provide planning services for development of a regional high capacity transit system plan in the amount of $5,676,607, with a 10% contingency of $567,661 totaling $6,244,268, for a new total authorized contract amount not to exceed $11,007,810
  • Authorized the chief executive officer to execute a five-year contract with two one-year options to extend with Universal Field Services, Inc. to provide acquisition, relocation, property management and other real estate related services for properties acquired or to be acquired for Sound Transit projects in the amount of $9,600,000, with a 10% contingency of $960,000, for a total authorized contract amount not to exceed $10,560,000
  • Amended Resolution No. R2012-18 to also authorize the chief executive officer to acquire certain real property interests as necessary for the Lynnwood Link Extension project, in addition to the previously authorized Northgate Link Extension