Voters approve historic Sound Transit 3 measure

Nov 10, 2016

Upcoming transit expansions include light rail to Everett, Tacoma, downtown Redmond, Kirkland, Issaquah, Ballard and West Seattle; bus rapid transit on I-405; Sounder south expansions

With the adoption of Sound Transit 3, the people of the Central Puget Sound region have taken a historic action to continue building the true mass transit system that has been talked about for decades.

Work to move forward on the further expansions approved by voters started today as the Sound Transit Board Capital Committee discussed next steps for two of the first projects, extending light rail to Federal Way and downtown Redmond.

"Our region has embraced a generational opportunity to move forward with a transit network to connect millions of people across three counties,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine. “After decades of waiting, we are ready to start building a light rail system that will grow our economy, improve our quality of life, and ensure access to jobs, education and all the Central Puget Sound has to offer.”

By 2021, Sound Transit will complete light rail to Roosevelt and Northgate and in 2023 trains will reach Mercer Island, Bellevue, Overlake, Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood. From there, Sound Transit will keep building until the agency has completed a 116-mile regional system. Next up will be getting light rail to Federal Way, downtown Redmond, Tacoma, West Seattle, Ballard, Everett, South Kirkland and Issaquah.

“Light rail will provide our workers and customers with fast and reliable transportation that will reach Boeing and the many other aerospace and advanced manufacturing companies that fuel our communities,” said Sound Transit Board Member and Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. “Connecting Everett with the region via light rail will create jobs, provide opportunities for transit-oriented communities and help to improve the quality of life of our residents as they travel throughout the Puget Sound.”

“This vote offers people in Pierce County alternatives to driving, greater transit options for the South Sound and JBLM and improved connectivity throughout the Puget Sound,” said Sound Transit Board Member and Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. “This is very important to our region’s economy as more people look for a dependable way to get to and from work and school.  Local businesses and the Port of Tacoma also benefit when road space is freed up, increasing mobility for freight and delivery trucks.”

“The people in our region have made an historic commitment to a true regional mass transit network -– a network that connects our major job centers and residential communities with service that will be fast and reliable, every trip,” said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. “I speak for hundreds of Sound Transit employees when I say that we’re greatly humbled by the responsibility placed on us. We are up to the task.  We're getting started today.  We are committed to delivering these major investments within budget and on schedule and to working with local communities to move up completion dates whenever possible"

The agency has a running start on the Federal Way and downtown Redmond projects.

  • Light rail will reach Federal Way in 2024. Today, Sound Transit published the environmental impact statement that allows the agency to adopt the final route and move the project into design and construction.
  • Sound Transit will also reach downtown Redmond in 2024. This month the Board is set to approve the funding to move forward with a route that has already received federal approval.

Sound Transit will also start working on platform extensions that enable longer Sounder south line trains to serve 40 percent more riders, and will work with BNSF on options for running more trains each day. The measure’s passage also extends Sounder to Tillicum and DuPont. After adding Sounder parking in Puyallup and Sumner Sound Transit will move on to also expand parking in Edmonds and Mukilteo.

Sound Transit will establish bus rapid transit along the north, east and south sides of Lake Washington, providing faster and more reliable service that runs every 10 minutes in peak hours supported with new parking and expanded stations.

Meeting the accelerated dates included in the adopted ST3 plan, and beating them where possible, will mean a new way of doing business. It will require earlier, proactive engagement with project partners and stakeholder organizations. Sound Transit will work closely with local jurisdictions to find innovative and efficient means to secure permits and proceed through environmental reviews.

Building these investments will put thousands of people to work and take many thousands more out of traffic. Every few years as we open each extension it will improve our region’s mobility, our economy and our environment.

Information on the Sound Transit 3 plan is available at soundtransit3.org.

Statements from other members of the Sound Transit Board:

Sound Transit Board Vice Chair and Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland

“This is a game-changer for the residents and businesses of Tacoma and the South Sound. Our community will finally be better connected to the regional system, which will benefit the local economy through job creation, tourism and more transit options for our residents. Once light rail from Federal Way to Tacoma is complete and we add more Sounder service, people who live and work in the South Sound will have transit options befitting a competitive global region.”

Sound Transit Board Vice Chair and Everett City Council Member Paul Roberts

“This vote shows that we are pulling together as a region, connecting people to where they live and where they work.  We are a regional economy and mobility for people and products is critical for our economy to grow.”

Sound Transit Board Member and Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus

“As a Sound Transit Board Member, I want to thank the voters for putting their faith behind this momentous project. The approval of Sound Transit 3 is a historic step forward for our region that addresses a long standing need in our community. Providing a rapid transit option that connects South Sound workers with job centers and families with regional services and business is critical in ensuring no one is left behind as our region grows and moves forward. I know that for many, 25 years may seem a like a lifetime, but I assure you that we will work quickly and efficiently to meet and exceed your expectations as we build a true regional transit system for our residents.”

Sound Transit Board and King County Council Member Claudia Balducci

 “Our region has been engaged in a passionate discussion about public transportation for at least 50 years.  Today, we Puget Sound voters have committed to build a regional transit system for ourselves and for future generations. With the public’s support for this ambitious vision, let's now get to work to bring rail and bus rapid transit to east King County and our entire region.”

Sound Transit Board Member and Issaquah Mayor Fred Butler

“Voters sent us a strong message this week: our region needs fast, reliable mass transit options that keep pace with our growing population. ST3 will deliver new enhancements to our transportation system every few years that will ease congestion and enhance our quality of life. I continually hear from our citizens that congestion is our number one challenge. Now, instead of playing catch-up, we are proactively planning for our future transportation needs, including a new light rail line along the Interstate 90 corridor.”

Sound Transit Board Member and Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling

“Sound Transit 3 will keep Snohomish County’s people and economy moving, increasing options for getting around as our population keeps growing. It’s time to move forward with helping more people ride Sounder commuter rail, including expanded parking in Edmonds, and building light rail to Everett.”

Sound Transit Board and Seattle City Council Member Rob Johnson

“This represents a historic investment for cities across the region. Today, we made a huge step toward combating the suburbanization of poverty, preventing displacement, and promoting transit-oriented development. I’m thrilled that we’re building light rail to West Seattle by 2030, to Ballard by 2035, infill stations at Graham Street, 130th and Boeing Access Road, and facilitating the expansion of local transit routes that can act as east/west connecters to this north/south spine.”

Sound Transit Board Member and Redmond Mayor John Marchione

“We have a 21st century economy. I'm pleased that the voters recognized that Sound Transit 3 will provide a 21st century transportation system to match our economy.”

Sound Transit Board and King County Council Member Joe McDermott

“This plan will deliver fast, reliable light rail to West Seattle and Ballard, which is forecast to be the highest used segment in the system. Further, we maximize the true transformative powers of light rail by implementing our strategy for equitable transit oriented housing and small business.”

Sound Transit Board Member and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray

“With the decision to support Proposition 1, voters’ investment in public transportation creates a more equitable future for some of our most vulnerable citizens. The expansion of light rail will provide life-changing access to jobs, education, healthy foods, and other critical services, while also creating opportunities for the development of more affordable housing in neighborhoods. Transit is the great equalizer, and I believe this vote symbolizes our region’s commitment to creating equitable communities that support everyone.”

Sound Transit Board and King County Council Member Pete von Reichbauer

“With the passage of ST3, South King County residents will benefit through the extension of light rail to our South Sound region. Our region depends on the ability to stay connected to jobs and services, as well as to develop a strong economic base as our communities continue to grow.  ST3 will help relieve congestion as our citizens commute to work, shop or recreate.”