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 November 14, 2014


Link shutdown Saturday 

I wanted to remind you that on Saturday, we're closing the entire Link light rail line so we can install and test upgraded communications and control systems. The upgrade will ensure continued safe, reliable Link operations as the system expands in coming years. Our University Link line between downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill and the University of Washington continues on schedule to open in early 2016, six months early and $150 million under budget.

Although the Link line will be closed tomorrow, Sound Transit and King County Metro will run special free bus services along the light rail route and special airport express buses between downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac Airport. Thanks to Metro and its staff for helping with the special buses and with the testing on Saturday.

Bus parking 

The Sound Transit Capital Committee on Thursday took action that might sound small, but will continue paying nice dividends in the future. The committee approved a contract to build a permanent parking area to store up to 30 ST Express buses during their mid-day layover.

The buses, which run morning and evening commuter routes between Pierce County and Seattle, are currently stored during the day at a Link Operations & Maintenance Facility parking lot. Storing the buses at the operations base instead of driving them back to Pierce County saves between $300,000 and $500,000 a year in fuel costs, plus mileage and vehicle maintenance costs.

However, the parking lot at the maintenance facility is now needed for our Link Maintenance of Way Building and in anticipation of testing in 2015 for the University Link and South 200th Link extensions. The solution was finding a new permanent bus storage area across the street from the maintenance facility on Airport Way and South Stevens Street, which is property already owned by Sound Transit.

The Gary Merlino Construction Company contract approved Thursday includes grading, paving, striping, drainage, landscaping and building a fence and retaining wall at the new site. The contract is for up to $1,202,850, which includes a 10 percent contingency.

Watch us build

Sound Transit is in a phase of heavy construction that can bring dust and disruption but not always a lot of visible progress for those just passing by. In a series of short entertaining social media videos, we hope to showcase our progress on major projects.

The first of those videos, which is about U Link's University of Washington Station, went up recently on our Facebook page. You can see how construction is progressing and learn some interesting station-building facts.

Look for more videos in coming months.

A Champion of Inclusion

Thursday evening I was proud to recognize one of our outstanding prime contractors, PCL Civil Construction, at the fifth annual Champions of Inclusion Awards ceremony.

PCL is building our South 200th Link Extension, which will open in late 2016 and extend light rail 1.6 miles south from the existing station at Sea-Tac Airport to the new Angle Lake Station at South 200th Street.

The Champion of Inclusion Awards, which are sponsored by Sound Transit, the Port of Seattle and the state Department of Transportation, honor three prime contractors for doing exceptional work in support of small and disadvantaged businesses.

PCL earned the Champion Award from us for going above and beyond in its outreach to small and disadvantaged businesses for its subcontracting needs. Since becoming the South 200th contractor, PCL has hosted two outreach events, partnered in two training sessions and participated in more than a dozen other outreach events. In addition, PCL was selected recently by Sound Transit and the City of Tacoma to lead hands-on training for small businesses in pouring flatwork concrete. Sound Transit and PCL also co-sponsored a training program to assist small businesses to become bond-ready.

The event Thursday included an after-hours session that has become a premier networking event between the agencies, prime contractors and small business subcontractors.

Mike Harbour, Sound Transit Acting CEO

The Sound Transit Capital Committee on Thursday:

  • Approved a contract with Gary Merlino Construction Company Inc. to provide construction services for the ST Express Mid-day Bus Storage Project in the amount of $1,093,500, with a 10 percent contingency of $109,350, for a total authorized contract amount not to exceed $1,202,850.
  • Approved a contract amendment with HNTB Corporation to provide on-call project review services in the amount of $1,400,000, for a total authorized contract amount not to exceed $3,100,000
  • Approved a contract with HNTB Corporation to provide construction management services for the preconstruction phases of three Sounder projects, which include Point Defiance Bypass, Tacoma Trestle Track and Signal, and Sounder Yard Expansion, in the amount of $2,000,000, with a 10 percent contingency of $200,000, for a total authorized contract amount not to exceed $2,200,000
  • Approved a contract with Hill International to provide design-build project management services for the preconstruction phase of the SR 520 to Overlake Transit Center segment of the East Link Extension in the amount of $898,636, with a 10 percent contingency of $89,864, for a total authorized contract amount not to exceed $988,500.