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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 July 25, 2014

Link Operations and Maintenance Satellite Facility 

The Sound Transit Board on Thursday identified a site in Bellevue as the preferred alternative for a new Link light rail operations and maintenance satellite facility.

While acknowledging that the decision was hard, Boardmembers pointed out that a site is essential as the system expands from 16 to 50 miles by 2023. The facility is needed to store, service and deploy the growing light rail train fleet.

The preferred alternative is in Bellevue's Bel-Red corridor west of 120th Avenue NE and adjacent to existing railroad tracks on land that is already partially owned by Sound Transit. In making its decision, the Board directed staff to design the facility to maximize potential transit- oriented development in the vicinity of the new base.

The final decision on the location and the facility's general size and scope will be determined after the project's Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) is complete. Staff will begin work on FEIS this summer and move forward with preliminary engineering and design work on the preferred alternative. The FEIS will be complete in late-2015 with the final site selected in the fall of 2015.

Joint Transportation Committee

On Thursday Ahmad Fazel, our Executive Director of Design, Engineering & Construction Management and Ric Ilgenfritz, Executive Director of Planning, Environment & Project Development gave the state legislature's Joint Transportation Committee an update on Sound Transit and the future of mass transit in this region.

Legislators learned about the agency's major capital projects, including the light rail extensions that are currently in planning or under construction. The presentation also looked to the future of Puget Sound and the need for more transit capacity in a region that is expected to grow by a million people by 2040.

Sound Transit is currently updating its Long-Range Plan, which is the blueprint for how and where the system should expand in the future. In addition to the technical work, the agency must also identify funding options, including the possibility of seeking new revenue authority from the legislature.

The Sound Transit Board has not made any decisions about a future ballot proposal but has directed the agency's planning work and public outreach to be complete so it has the option of going to voters as early as 2016.

Working together

A few weeks ago I mentioned that the Sound Transit Board had directed staff to work closely with King County Metro on possible ways to better integrate and deliver our services. That move was led by King County Executive and Sound Transit Board Chair Dow Constantine.

A quick update: The idea of integrating service and consolidating efforts has been embraced by both agencies and staff are working hard on the process this summer. A report with findings and recommendations is scheduled for release in mid-September.

Last chance

There's just a few days left to give us your thoughts on how, where and when regional transit should continue growing after our current voter-approved projects are complete in 2023.

Monday, July 28, is the last day to take our online survey on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for updating the regional transit Long-Range Plan or sending a written comment. Please visit here.

As I mentioned in the item above on the Joint Transportation Committee briefing, the Long-Range Plan is the blueprint for how the system should expand through future ballot measures.

Mike Harbour, Sound Transit Deputy CEO

The Sound Transit Operation Committee on Thursday:

  • Approved the acquisition or lease of certain real property interests, including acquisition by condemnation and to pay eligible relocation and re-establishment benefits to affected owners and tenants as necessary for the East Link Extension.
  • Approved a lease amendment with SREH 2014, L.L.C. to extend the lease term for office space for the Transit Systems Group through February 2020 in the amount of $1,022,000, for a new total authorized lease agreement amount not to exceed $1,604,832.
  • Amended the Funding and Cooperative Agreement with the City of Seattle for the Implementation of the First Hill Streetcar Connector Project, by changing the method of funding operations and maintenance.
  • Identified the preferred site for the Link Operations Maintenance Satellite Facility (OMSF) Final Environmental Impact Statement, and (2) approving Gate 3 - Identifying Preferred Alternative within Sound Transit's Phase Gate process.
  • Amended the Adopted 2014 Budget to increase it by $4,271,574, from $32,556,531 to $36,828,105 for the Operations Maintenance Satellite Facility Project.