Chief operating officer named acting Sound Transit executive director
Sound Transit Chief Operating Officer Joni Earl has been named acting executive director of the agency by the Sound Transit Board, effective immediately. The action follows the board's acceptance of the resignation of the agency's executive director of the past five years, Bob White. White will remain with the agency for an undetermined period to assist with the transition. According to Sound Transit Board Chair Dave Earling, the board chose to act quickly to assure continuity of operations. "We have a great deal of work to do in the next few months, especially regarding the central Link light rail project, so we wanted to move quickly to assure a smooth transition."
Earl accepted the new position of chief operating officer for the agency last October. She came to the position after serving for nearly a decade as deputy county executive for Snohomish County. She immediately became involved in developing a revised budget and construction schedule for the central Link light rail project. Based on the new budget and schedule that the board accepted at its Jan. 11 meeting, the board voted 14-to-one to accept a $500 million federal funding agreement.
"The difficult and very thorough work she did in helping to bring forward a more realistic cost estimate and schedule for this important project has earned her a great deal of respect from boardmembers," Earling said.
With voter approval in 1996, Sound Transit has already implemented Sounder commuter rail service between Tacoma and Seattle and 13 of its 18 planned limited-stop ST Express bus routes serving the three-county region. Construction on the. 1.6-mile Tacoma Link light rail will begin this spring. The agency is currently refining plans and budgets for construction of the 21-mile central Link light rail project between SeaTac and Seattle's University District, with construction slated to begin in June 2002.
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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.