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 October 24, 2014


U Link update

The University Link light rail extension is moving along very well and is now about 90 percent complete. The U Link line, which runs 3.15 miles underground from downtown Seattle to the University of Washington, is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2016 - six to nine months early.

The project is also trending about $150 million under budget.

That was the good news reported to the Sound Transit Board during a staff briefing on Thursday.

In addition, construction on the project's University of Washington Station is about 96 percent complete while construction on the Capitol Hill Station is about 70 percent finished. Both of those U Link stations are underground.

French students here 

Sound Transit had a definite French feel earlier this week. A group of 15 graduate students and three professors from the prestigious French engineering school, MINES ParisTech were at Sound Transit for a briefing and tour of our Northgate Link Extension project.

The group is spending two weeks in the U.S. visiting various mining projects mainly in Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming and here.

I gave them an overview of Sound Transit and then said adieu as they headed out on their tour.

Person of the Year 

On Tuesday Dick Sage, Sound Transit's Construction Management Director, was honored as "Person of the Year" by the Construction Management Association of America.

The award is for industry leaders who have made significant contributions to the profession. Winners must have unparalleled leadership skills, a high degree of professionalism and have made a difference in the industry.

Mr. Sage has been at Sound Transit for 15 years and he oversees work on our light rail, commuter rail and regional express bus capital construction programs.

We're lucky to have his experience and expertise on our projects.

Long-Range Plan workshop 

Following the more than 12,000 public comments we received over the summer, the Sound Transit Board is holding a workshop next Thursday as part of the ongoing process to update the agency's Long-Range Plan.

Join us if you can from 1:30 to 4 p.m. in the Ruth Fisher Boardroom here at Union Station, 401 S. Jackson St.

The Long-Range-Plan identifies regional transit investments that could be part of future ballot measures. The Board is scheduled to update the plan in December after the publication of a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.

Next week's workshop will cover options for funding the future transit expansions. And then next month, the Board is scheduled to consider a 2015 legislative agenda that identifies the additional revenue authority Sound Transit will need from the Washington State Legislature to shape future ballot measures.

This is a good time to be talking future transit improvements with the news this week that car travel in the Puget Sound region is bad and getting worse. The state Department of Transportation's 2014 Corridor Capacity Report estimates that the annual delay per person on Interstate 5 is now over eight hours and that delay costs our region $811 million annually.

Transit plays a key role in limiting the growth of congestion and the delays it can create.


Mike Harbour, Deputy CEOMike Harbour, Sound Transit Acting CEO

The Sound Transit Board on Thursday:

  • Approved a contract amendment with David Evans & Associates to provide final design engineering services for the Tacoma Trestle Track & Signal Project in the amount of $7,076,388, with a 10% contingency of $707,639 totaling $7,784,027, for a new total authorized contract amount not to exceed $12,131,796.
  • Approved the acquisition of certain real property interests including acquisition by condemnation, and to reimburse eligible relocation and re-establishment expenses incurred by affected owners and tenants as necessary for the Northgate Link Extension.
  • Approved the acquisition of certain real property interests including acquisition by condemnation, and to reimburse eligible relocation and re-establishment expenses incurred by affected owners and tenants as necessary for the East Link Extension.
  • Approved an amendment to the agreement between the City of Redmond, the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority, and the Microsoft Corporation, for the design and construction of the Overlake Transit Center within the East Link Extension to add the Redmond Community Facilities District No. 2014-01 as an additional party to the agreement.
  • Approved added contract contingency for the contract with Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc., to provide final design services for the International District Station to South Bellevue segment of the East Link Extension in the amount of $5,498,903, for a total authorized contract amount not to exceed $35,839,782.
  • Approved the submittal of the Transit Development Plan 2014-2019 and 2013 Annual Report to the Washington State Department of Transportation.
  • Approved the option to extend the agreement with the National Railroad Passenger Corporation for one two-year term for the continued maintenance of Sounder locomotives and cars, which includes the cost of fuel, in an amount not to exceed $35,288,262 for a new total authorized amount not to exceed $189,739,634.
  • Approved a three-year labor agreement with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 758 covering Tacoma Link Light Rail vehicle operators
  • Approved a license amendment with Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc. to extend the license term for an existing billboard until Sound Transit terminates the agreement for Sound Transit's business purposes