On heels of ST3 victory, Sound Transit releases final environmental study for extending light rail to Federal Way

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ST3 provides funding to reach South 320th Street in 2024; Sound Transit Board to select final alignment early next year

As Sound Transit marks the passage of the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure, the agency and the Federal Transit Administration today issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Federal Way Link light rail extension, which extends light rail south from Angle Lake in the City of SeaTac to the Federal Way Transit Center.

Voters’ passage of ST3 provides funding to construct light rail to the Federal Way Transit Center at South 320th Street by 2024. Previously approved funding would have extended light rail to Kent/Des Moines at South 240th Street by 2023.

The FEIS addresses comments on the 2015 Draft Environmental Impact Statement. It provides a detailed look at the project benefits, potential impacts and mitigation measures as the Sound Transit Board considers the route and station locations to be built for the 7.6-mile line.

The Board is expected to select the route and station locations at its Jan. 26 meeting. After securing a federal Record of Decision and completing the design work, the project is scheduled to enter construction in 2019.

By 2035, Federal Way Link will carry an estimated 35,000 to 39,500 riders each weekday through one of the most congested travel corridors in the region. Stations will be located in Kent/Des Moines, at South 272nd Street and the Federal Way Transit Center. The extension will provide a 46-minute trip between Federal Way and downtown Seattle regardless of traffic conditions.

Cost estimates to build from Angle Lake Station to the Federal Way Transit Center range from $1.4 to $2.2 billion.

In April 2015, the Sound Transit Board identified a preferred alignment through a corridor that parallels Interstate 5 and State Route 99. The extension to Federal Way will eventually connect South Sound riders to destinations across a 116-mile regional light rail system stretching from Tacoma to Everett, with lines serving West Seattle, Ballard, downtown Redmond, South Kirkland and Issaquah.

The Federal Way Link Extension FEIS is available at local public libraries and online at www.soundtransit.org/FWextension.

Publication of the FEIS caps more than four years of environmental studies that looked at several route combinations and potential station locations in the project corridor. During that time, Sound Transit participated in more than 150 public meetings including workshops, neighborhood and council briefings, and information tables.