Skip Navigation

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 May 22, 2015


U District Station update

I wrote recently about the progress our two tunnel boring machines are making in digging tunnels for the Northgate Link light rail extension. That extension includes a new underground U District Station, which is located on Brooklyn Avenue NE between NE 45th and NE 43rd streets.

Work on the station is going very well, with the excavation of the station box about 90 percent complete. That excavation will continue through this summer. By the time it's done, more than 135,000 cubic yards of soil will be removed from the site, which is roughly equal to 40 Olympic size swimming pools. Crews will dig until they reach about 95 feet below ground.

When it's open in 2021, the U District Station will have two entrances along Brooklyn Avenue NE with elevators and escalators heading down to the underground platforms where riders will board trains.

Opportunities to work together

There is plenty going on in the region that highlights the integration efforts between Puget Sound transit agencies.

As I wrote last week, Sound Transit and King County Metro Transit are working together on ways to connect University Link light rail trains with buses, so riders will get the best ride possible when trains begin running early next year. Read our proposed changes.

It goes beyond that, however. In June, our outreach for Sound Transit 3 kicks off and includes public meetings where people can help decide which mass transit projects should be considered in a possible ST3 public vote next year. The meetings in King County will include not only Sound Transit staff, but will also be held jointly with King County Metro regarding their Long-Range Plan.

Finally, on June 11, the Puget Sound Regional Council is hosting a Transit Integration Summit that brings together transit agencies and elected officials from throughout the region. The summit is one of our agency's major milestones for 2015 and we're looking forward to our continuing work with partner agencies throughout the region. I'll have more details on the summit as we get closer to the event.

Time is running out

Tuesday is the final chance to submit comments on the Federal Way light rail extension's Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).

The DEIS is a detailed analysis of the potential benefits and impacts of the project, which will extend light rail 7.6 miles south of the future Angle Lake Station in the City of SeaTac to Kent/Des Moines by 2023 and to Federal Way when more funding is available. The DEIS includes four alternatives with various station and route options in a corridor that parallels Interstate 5 and State Route 99.

You can still watch a video simulation, build a route from alternatives and station options and submit your comments at

Tunnel closures on the way

Two more weekend Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel closures are coming up.  That means Link light rail trains will not be running downtown over the weekends of May 30-31 and June 6-7. However, a free shuttle bus (Route 97) will serve the downtown stops and connect to regular Link service between Stadium Station and Sea-Tac Airport.

The tunnel closure is necessary to make system upgrades in preparation for extending U Link service to Capitol Hill and the University of Washington in early 2016. Details are on our Rider news page.

For live updates during the closure, follow Sound Transit on twitter at

Sounder service Saturday

Check out our Sounders FC service page for times of special Sounder trains to the Sounders FC match against Sporting KC on Saturday.

In addition on Monday, Memorial Day, we will have some changes to our regular service. See our Holiday service for details.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend.


--Mike Harbour, Sound Transit Acting CEO