Draft Environmental Impact Statement released for extending light rail to Kent/Des Moines, Federal Way

Publish Date
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Public hearings, interactive website offer options for commenting on route and station options through May 26

Sound Transit and the Federal Transit Administration today published the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for extending Link light rail to Kent/Des Moines and, when funding is available, to Federal Way. The public can now review and comment on the DEIS at upcoming public hearings, through interactive web tools and by email or regular mail through May 26.

Public meetings
Wednesday, May 6
4-7 p.m. - Public hearing begins at 5:30 p.m.
Federal Way Community Center
876 S. 333rd St.
Federal Way

Thursday, May 7
4-7 p.m. - Public hearing begins at 5:30 p.m.
Highline College
Student Union Building
2400 S. 240th St.
Des Moines

Interactive web tools
In addition to holding public meetings, Sound Transit is offering interactive web tools for viewing and commenting on alternatives and station options. Users can go to federalwaylink.org to watch a simulated video, build a route from alternatives and station options, and submit comments using an online form.

The public can also email comments to FWLE@soundtransit.org, or mail them to Federal Way Link Extension, Draft EIS Comments, Sound Transit, 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104.

The public comment period will run from April 10 through May 26.

The DEIS provides a detailed analysis of the potential benefits and impacts of the project, which would extend light rail service 7.6 miles south of the future Angle Lake Station in the City of SeaTac through a corridor that parallels Interstate 5 and State Route 99. The DEIS includes four alternatives with various station and alignment options. It details how the project might affect transportation, economic development, properties in the study area, and other natural and built environment resources. Ridership potential and conceptual cost comparisons are also included.

In 2008 voters approved the Sound Transit 2 ballot measure, which included plans for extending light rail south from the City of SeaTac to Kent/Des Moines and the northern boundary of Federal Way. After the recession wiped out 29 percent in projected ST2 revenues, the agency realigned its program. While funding to construct light rail south of Kent/Des Moines was no longer available, the Board allocated $24 million to develop a shovel-ready plan for extending light rail further south to the Federal Way Transit Center when funding for construction is secured.

Following the comment period, the Sound Transit Board is scheduled to identify a preferred alternative this summer. A Final Environmental Impact Statement is planned for release in mid-2016, with the Board selecting the project to be built later that year. Final design will begin in 2017 and construction in 2019, with service to Kent/Des Moines beginning in 2023.

By 2023, Sound Transit will be operating nearly 50 miles of light rail service northward to the University of Washington, Northgate and Lynnwood, eastward to Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond's Overlake area, and southward to Kent/Des Moines. Link is expected to carry more than 80 million riders annually by 2030.

The Federal Way Link Extension DEIS is available at the Des Moines, Kent, Woodmont, Federal Way, Federal Way 320th, and Washington State libraries, and online at federalwaylink.org.