Public comment period begins for Sound Transit 3 Draft Plan

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Online survey, public meetings offer opportunities to shape the region’s future

Today Sound Transit launched a month-long effort to hear from residents on a draft plan for keeping the region’s commuters and economy moving. Residents are urged to sound off with their views via an online survey at soundtransit3.org and attend upcoming public meetings around the region.

“Sound Transit 3 delivers on the promise of a truly regional mass transit system for generations to come,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine. “The public input we receive will help us shape the best final plan that will be on the November ballot.”

The ST3 Draft Plan responds to strong region-wide support for additional mass transit expansions as the region’s population grows by an estimated million residents by 2040. The projected growth is equivalent to adding the current combined populations of Seattle, Tacoma and Everett. By adding 58 miles of light rail and 39 stations, ST3 would establish a truly regional 108-mile system providing 525,000 riders congestion-free service each day.

Over a 25-year period the draft plan would complete the long-envisioned regional transit spine to Everett, Tacoma and downtown Redmond, while also adding new lines to the system reaching West Seattle, South Lake Union, Ballard and a new Eastside line linking downtown Bellevue, Eastgate and Issaquah. The plan also emphasizes Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service in the I-405, SR 518 and SR 522 corridors that would dramatically improve the speed, reliability and frequency of buses, with service up to every few minutes in peak hours.

Comments received during the public comment period, which runs through April 29, will help the Sound Transit Board adopt a final plan in the June timeframe for voter consideration Nov. 8. The interactive soundtransit3.org website offers a chance to learn about the plan and take a survey to help guide the Sound Transit Board. A series of seven public meetings around the region starts on April 19:

  • Ballard—April 19, Ballard High School, 1418 NW 65th St.
  • Tacoma—April 21, Evergreen State College Tacoma, 1210 6th Ave.
  • Everett—April 25, Everett Station, 3201 Smith Ave.
  • West Seattle—April 26, West Seattle High School, 3000 California Ave. SW
  • Redmond—April 27, Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center, 16600 NE 80th St.
  • Federal Way—April 28, Todd Beamer High School, 35999 16th Ave. S
  • Seattle (daytime)—11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. April 28, Union Station, 401 S Jackson St.

Except for the daytime meeting in Seattle on April 28, all of the meetings will run from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., with presentations at 6 p.m. For residents’ convenience, the meetings in Ballard, West Seattle, Redmond and Federal Way will coincide with King County Metro Transit Long-Range Plan public meetings (more information at kcmetrovision.org).

Through April 29 residents can also provide comments on the draft plan by e-mailing soundtransit3@soundtransit.org; mailing 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104; or calling (206) 903-7000. Information can be provided and comments submitted in alternate languages by calling 1-800-823-9230. Accommodations for people with disabilities can be arranged by calling 1-800-201-4900 / TTY Relay 771 or emailing accessibility@soundtransit.org.

The ST3 Draft Plan’s $50 billion in investments would be funded in part by $28 billion in new voter-approved sales, MVET and property taxes. The estimated additional costs of the new taxes for a typical adult in the Sound Transit District are approximately $200 annually or $17 a month. Additional information on funding for ST3 can be found at http://soundtransit3.org/document-library.

The projects would be delivered in steady succession over the plan’s 25-year period. The timeline reflects the significant time requirements for building major infrastructure projects and the scale of the light rail extensions and capital investments, which are more than double Sound Transit’s first two phases. The major investments require revenues collected over the full 25-year period as well as bond sales and federal funding.

The Sound Transit District is home to more than 40 percent of Washington’s population, more than 70 percent of its economic activity and 97 percent of its congestion. High-capacity transit investments are the best way — and in many cases the only way — to significantly expand transportation capacity in the state’s most congested corridors.

Over the past 14 years, Sound Transit has developed a strong track record delivering mass transit investments. The University Link light rail extension, with new stations on Seattle’s Capitol Hill and near Husky Stadium, opened last week six months ahead of schedule and approximately $200 million under budget. Later this year Sound Transit is also on track to open its extension to Angle Lake, one stop south of the airport. In 2021 light rail service is scheduled to open to Northgate. By 2023 Sound Transit is on track to extend service further north to Lynnwood, south to Kent/Des Moines and east to Redmond’s Overlake area.