Sound Transit Board proposes rail expansions to reach Pierce, Snohomish and East King residents

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The Sound Transit Board today adopted a Sound Transit 2 Draft Package that would expand light rail service to the north, east and south. The package proposes more than 40 new miles of light rail, building on the 19 miles in Sound Transit’s first phase. 

The light rail expansions would extend north from the University of Washington to Lynnwood, south from Sea-Tac International Airport to the Port of Tacoma area, and east as far as Redmond’s Overlake Transit Center, via downtown Bellevue. These and other proposed projects in the draft package would increase the number of people who use the regional transit system every day to more than 350,000 by 2030.

Sound Transit will seek a final round of public input on the draft package during February and March before adopting a final package that will go to the voters in November 2007 as part of a regional Roads & Transit package.

“These transit projects will take pressure off our roads at the same time that we make coordinated investments in the road system. We need these expansions to get ready for the population growth of more than 40 percent that will hit our region between now and 2030,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg. “It’s time to hear the public’s final input and put a major package out to a vote in November.”

In addition to the light rail expansions, the draft package:

  • Increases access to the regional transit system by adding parking and other enhancements at Sounder commuter rail and ST Express bus facilities, including improvements to the bus rapid transit system on I-405.
  • Sets aside funding for future service enhancements to existing ST Express bus routes.
  • Builds a new streetcar in Downtown Seattle connecting the International District, First Hill and Capitol Hill areas.
  • Identifies further light rail extensions to downtown Redmond and downtown Tacoma, subject to securing additional funding or cost savings for construction. The package provides up-front funding for planning, engineering and property acquisition for these extensions.
  • Prepares for a light rail extension to Everett in the next phase by funding planning, engineering and property acquisition.
  • Funds corridor planning studies between the University of Washington and Redmond on the State Route 520 corridor and South Bellevue and Issaquah on the I-90 corridor.

The Sound Transit 2 Draft Package would be funded with a sales tax increase of 0.5 percent, or five cents on a $10 retail purchase. The increase would cost a typical household approximately $125 each year. 

The package was developed with extensive input from the region’s communities over the last two years, including more than 5,200 public comments that Sound Transit and the Regional Transportation Investment District (RTID) received last summer and fall. In February and March Sound Transit and RTID will host another series of public meetings throughout the region to gather input on the proposed projects. Citizens are encouraged to visit www.soundtransit.org/st2 to learn the details of the package and provide input. Information on proposed roads projects is available at www.rtid.org

“We’ve listened to the public and have come up with a package that tackles the region’s most pressing needs,” Ladenburg said.  “We’re working closely with our region’s communities and RTID to move forward a comprehensive transportation package that will protect our quality of life and economy.”

After collecting additional public input in February and March the Sound Transit Board is scheduled to adopt a final package in April.

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Sound Transit’s regional network of express buses, commuter rail, light rail and transit facilities connects communities in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.