Sound Transit Board votes to move forward with initial segment

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The Sound Transit Board today voted to move forward with an initial segment of light rail that is projected to carry more than 40,000 riders per day by 2020. The vote means that light rail construction, which will create more than 4,200 new direct and indirect jobs in the region, will begin as early as next summer. Link light rail trains will begin running in 2009.

The Board's 12 to 4 vote was a major step forward on a 14-mile initial segment, which will run from a park-and-ride lot near SeaTac airport, through urban-residential areas of south Seattle (the Rainier Valley and Beacon Hill), and into the Seattle downtown core. The southern interim terminus at the S. 154th park-and-ride will include shuttle service to the airport.

Board members voting in favor of this segment include Dave Earling, Ron Sims, Bob Drewel, John Ladenburg, Doug MacDonald, David Enslow, Greg Nickels, Jack Crawford, Mary Gates, Richard McIver, Kevin Phelps, and Cynthia Sullivan. Jane Hague, Ed Hansen, Paul Schell and Rob McKenna voted against it. Board members Jim White and Ann Kirk Davis were absent for the vote, although both submitted statements indicating their strong support for the initial segment (Board rules prohibit proxy or absentee votes).

In other business, the board also approved a motion directing staff to begin a formal Environmental Impact Statement evaluating options for extending light rail north from downtown to Northgate. The vote was 16-0. This process is expected to take 18-24 months before an alignment can be identified.


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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.