Former Seattle Mayor Norm Rice to chair independent review of Sound Transit Link light rail tunnel project

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Former Seattle Mayor Norm Rice will head the independent committee charged with reviewing Sound Transit's Link light rail tunnel project. Appointed by Sound Transit Board officers Chair Dave Earling and Vice Chairs Greg Nickels and Doug Sutherland, Rice will have broad discretion to assemble and select members of the committee, establish its work plan and hire required staff and technical experts.

"We're confident in Norm Rice's leadership and grateful that such a distinguished community leader is willing to serve," said Earling.

Currently president and chief executive officer of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle, Rice is expected to announce committee members in about a week. Two members will be selected from the existing independent Citizen Oversight Panel responsible for monitoring Sound Transit and other members will include community leaders and technical experts.

Specifically, the committee will examine if the proposed Capitol Hill tunnel contract is sound from a financial, risk and engineering perspective, and if the Sound Transit financial plan is capable of supporting the light rail project within available resources.

The Sound Transit Finance Committee will begin reviewing the financial plan at their Nov. 9 meeting. Details about the negotiated contract will be available to the board, the public and the independent review committee in December, when Sound Transit is expected to complete negotiations on the design and build contract for the Link light rail tunnel.

The board is requesting that the independent review committee complete their report prior to any board decisions. Throughout the review process, all information will be provided to the public and the independent review committee, and the Sound Transit Board will take no action before Jan. 25, 2001.

Rice served two terms as Seattle mayor from 1990 to 1997 and three terms on the Seattle City Council, serving as president and chair of the budget committee, where Rice had a long history of careful financial planning, analysis and public accountability.

Voter-approved in 1996, Sound Transit is on track implementing a three-county regional transit system including Sounder commuter rail, running 82 miles from Everett to Tacoma/Lakewood; Link light rail, a 24-mile system connecting the cities of Seattle, Tukwila and SeaTac and a 1.6 mile system in Tacoma; and Regional Express, featuring 18 new ST Express limited stop, long-haul bus routes and numerous improvements to transit centers, park-and-ride lots and HOV lanes.

For more information on Sound Transit e-mail us at main@soundtransit.org, call or write us at 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104 (206) 398-5000.


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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.