Sound Transit breaks ground on Central Link light rail project
|Photo caption: Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Ron Sims (second from right) welcomed community members to the future site of the Central Link Operations and Maintenance Base this morning to break ground on the light rail line. Pictured with Sims (left to right) are Seattle Mayor and Sound Transit Board Member Greg Nickels; Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl; and Seattle City Council and Sound Transit Board Member Richard McIver.|
Local leaders and community members gathered in South Seattle this morning to break ground on Central Link light rail, marking the start of a project that will provide a powerful new transportation solution for the Puget Sound region.
"Today we break ground on a vital cornerstone of our region's future - of our economic success, our environmental sustainability, our ability to compete as a world-class city," said Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Ron Sims. "This project shows what our region can do when we stay focused on a bold vision. We are delivering on our region's mandate for a mass transit system that will provide alternatives to gridlock and protect our economy and quality of life."
"This is an exciting and historic day in Seattle - today we start building a 21st century transportation system and create thousands of good-paying jobs," said Seattle Mayor and Sound Transit Board Member Greg Nickels. "Today we move forward on the dreams of a great city - better transit, improved mobility, smart growth, making a great city better."
The groundbreaking brought community members to the future site of the Central Link Operations and Maintenance Base in Sodo. Among them were Washington congressional powerhouses Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Norm Dicks, who played key roles in securing a $500 million full funding grant agreement (FFGA) for Central Link.
"As we break ground today, we're opening a new chapter in the history of the Puget Sound," said Sen. Murray. "We've shown that we can work together, we can invest in our community, and we can take action to make life better throughout the region."
"We wouldn't be standing here today without Sen. Murray and Rep. Dicks," said Sims. "They've been truly pivotal among the literally thousands of people who have contributed to this project. Today we celebrate the leaders who have moved this project forward from Congress, the White House, our state capitol and our local governments."
"Our children will grow up riding light rail," Sims said. "They'll take for granted the fast, efficient trains arriving at the station every few minutes to whisk them where they want to go. When they ask what it was like before light rail we'll think back to this day."
Central Link light rail has the highest rating possible from the federal government and is an ideal technology for moving people between their homes, jobs and other destinations amid the region's challenging geography of hills, valleys and water. Central Link's initial segment will move more than 42,000 people a day by 2020.
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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.