S. 200th Link extension groundbreaking, 04/26/13

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When construction is complete, light rail service from the City of SeaTac will open with University Link in 2016-four years earlier than originally planned

Sound Transit broke ground today on extending Link light rail to a new station 1.6 miles south of Sea-Tac International Airport. The elevated station and guideway for the South 200th Link extension will offer congestion-free 40-minute rides to downtown Seattle. The project will create an estimated 2,600 direct and indirect jobs.

U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Sound Transit Board Chair and Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, Sound Transit Vice Chair and King County Council Vice Chair Julia Patterson, Sound Transit Boardmember and state Department of Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson, and SeaTac Mayor John Anderson joined other leaders today at the site of the future Angle Lake Station to turn the first ceremonial shovels of dirt. 

"Today marks an exciting milestone in expanding mass transit for Central Puget Sound citizens," said Board Chair and County Executive Pat McCarthy. "The South 200th Link Extension is a significant project not only for South King County, but also for communities beyond as planning to extend Link further south continues. By 2016, South King County residents will join 25,000 light rail riders who travel to downtown Seattle every day, with service further north to the University of Washington. The work done to advance this project four years ahead of schedule will give more people the chance to enjoy Link's outstanding service sooner than originally planned."

The South 200th extension will run south from Sea-Tac Airport on an elevated guideway along 28th Avenue South to South 200th Street. Service during peak commute periods will operate every six minutes between SeaTac and the University of Washington. An estimated 2,600 local jobs will be created from project construction. When complete, service to Angle Lake Station will connect riders to 22,000 jobs at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the 17th busiest airport in the country.

"Sound Transit's growing light rail system has been a tremendous success in the Puget Sound area, and the South 200th Street extension will give thousands of SeaTac residents easy access to our entire region," said Sen. Murray, Chair of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Committee, who worked with the FTA and Sound Transit to secure $26 million in federal funds for the project.  "Investing in transit reduces congestion on our roadways, helps our environment, and creates thousands of good paying jobs right here in Washington state."

Link light rail to the station at South 200th Street will reduce transit travel time to downtown Seattle by an estimated 19 minutes and to the University of Washington by 27 minutes. The extension is also projected to eliminate 26 million vehicle miles traveled through the Interstate 5 corridor, save nearly 1.3 million gallons of gasoline, and reduce greenhouse gases by 6,180 tons per year.

"We must build a transportation system that will support our growing region," said Washington State Governor Jay Inslee. "The growing Link light rail system is adding much-needed transportation capacity for commuters and families. Beyond the transportation benefits, building infrastructure is one of the best ways to stimulate our economy. Sound Transit 2 projects like this one will create more than 100,000 direct and indirect jobs during the next decade."

In addition to job benefits from construction, the completed station will provide transit access to local neighborhoods where up to 28 percent of households are living in poverty, 16 percent are elderly, and people representing more than 80 nationalities speak 70 languages. Light rail service at the new station can save drivers who switch from car to transit as much as $995 a month.

"Extending light rail to SeaTac will provide thousands of South King County residents access to major employment centers and other destinations in the region," said Sound Transit Board Vice Chair and King County Council Vice Chair Julia Patterson. "Whether it's used for a daily commute or weekend adventure, Link light rail is becoming part of the fabric of our community. I want to thank the City of SeaTac and the Port of Seattle for working closely with Sound Transit to help make light rail a reality for the people who need it most." 
The elevated station will include passenger platforms with covered waiting areas, a transfer area for local and RapidRide bus connections, dedicated areas for passenger pickup and drop-off, and vanpool parking. Secured bicycle storage, street improvements to accommodate traffic circulation, bicycle and pedestrian access, landscaping and public art are also elements of the project. This station will also include a public art piece called "Cloud" by artist Laura Haddad that will change color in response to the time of day, the weather, or at the approach of a train.

"The City of SeaTac would like to thank Sound Transit for its diligent work in bringing light rail to our city," said SeaTac Mayor Tony Anderson. "Along with the transportation infrastructure and benefits, the Angle Lake Station will provide sidewalk improvements, new landscaping and better street crossings that will help make this area safer, more walkable and more livable."A 700-stall park-and-ride garage and up to 400 interim surface spaces will provide parking for commuters using the South 200th station. The additional parking capacity will provide an alternative to parking at the Tukwila International Boulevard light rail station and accommodate parking south of the airport while the South 200th station serves as an interim southern terminus. 

The project is estimated to cost $383.2 million in year of expenditure dollars. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is providing $26 million for the South 200th light rail extension, including $10 million through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program and $16 million in other federal funds.

By 2018, the Angle Lake Station will serve an estimated 5,400 average weekday riders. The stations at Capitol Hill and the University of Washington will serve 11,800 and 14,900 riders each weekday, respectively. System-wide, 25 million transit users will ride Link in 2018. By 2030, the region's more than 50 miles of Link light rail are projected to carry 280,000 riders each weekday. More than 45,000 of those riders in 2030 are projected to use the three new stations that will open in 2016.