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Sound Transit Board approves 2017 budget with focus on rail system expansions

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Construction will ramp up on East Link and begin on Northgate Link stations while designs move forward for Lynnwood, Federal Way and Downtown Redmond; two more round trips and station improvements coming on Sounder south line

The Sound Transit Board today approved a $1.6 billion 2017 budget that provides $1.2 billion in light rail and other system expansions, including work to begin implementing the additional projects that regional voters approved on Nov. 8.

"In 2017 Sound Transit will make significant progress toward delivering infrastructure expansions that will boost our region's economy while giving commuters a reliable and desirable alternative to the worsening congestion on our roadways." said Sound Transit Chief Executive Officer Peter Rogoff. "Work is already underway on some of the new projects that voters approved just last month."

The 2017 budget emphasizes intensified construction work toward the 2023 opening of the East Link light rail project, including the scheduled January start of mining a short tunnel through Downtown Bellevue. Following the 2016 completion of Northgate Link tunnel mining, station construction will get underway in 2017 as progress continues toward the scheduled 2021 opening. Work on light rail designs will continue as Sound Transit works toward the 2023 opening of light rail to Lynnwood and 2024 openings to Federal Way and Downtown Redmond.

Project funding in the 2017 budget includes initial steps on Sound Transit 3 projects that voters approved on Nov. 8. Work continuing in early 2017 will include development of a Program Implementation Plan spanning both projects approved in 2008 and 2016, which will include a master program schedule and refinements of internal processes as the agency works expand its capacity to complete a 116-mile light rail system. In the spring the Sound Transit Board will review this plan and consider amendments to the 2017 budget for additional project work for the year.

With Sound Transit ridership now exceeding 150,000 each weekday, the budget also invests $396 million in transit operations. In September 2017 Sound Transit will begin operating two new round trips on the Sounder south line, providing expanded options and capacity for commuters to travel during rush hours.

Specific highlights for 2017 include:

Link light rail

  • $393.4 million to extend light rail to from downtown Seattle to downtown Bellevue and the Overlake Transit Center in Redmond
  • $258.9 million to continue construction of the Northgate Link Extension, including tunnels, station boxes, and station final design
  • $116.2 million to continue Lynnwood Link Extension final design
  • $99.8 million for a design-build contract for the East Operations and Maintenance Base Facility
  • $59.5 million for light rail vehicle procurement activities
  • $14.2 million to complete preliminary engineering to extend light rail approximately 3.7 miles from Overlake Transit Center to downtown Redmond
  • $6.1 million to complete the environmental process and preliminary engineering for the Federal Way Link Extension and transition to final design
  • $9.9 million for final design of the Tacoma Link Extension.

Sounder commuter rail

  • $38 million to complete Tacoma Trestle construction
  • $6.9 million to complete construction of the second track for the Point Defiance Bypass Project
  • $4.7 million to complete Sounder Yard Expansion construction
  • $4.8 million to complete track and signal improvements for two additional Sounder south line round trips
  • $4.4 million for Puyallup Station Access Improvements design-build work
  • $3.8 million for nine Sounder train passenger cars
  • $506,000 for Kent Station Access Improvements conceptual engineering
  • $506,000 for Auburn Station Access Improvements conceptual engineering.

Bus and other investments

  • $13.6 million for delivery of ST Express vehicles, including five Compressed Natural Gas and four double decker buses
  • $23.7 million to complete I-90 Two-Way Transit & HOV Operations construction.

A copy of the approved 2017 budget will be available at