Sound Transit and City of Renton negotiate agreement for ending condemnation lawsuit

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Representatives from Sound Transit and the City of Renton have negotiated an agreement under which the City of Renton will provide an easement on a small strip of vacant land to Sound Transit for $30,000.

The settlement agreement includes commitments by Sound Transit to work with Renton toward completing transit-related projects in the Renton area including the North Eighth Street Direct Access Ramp and HOV improvements to key arterial corridors such as Rainier Avenue and the Southwest 27th Street/Strander Boulevard corridor.

Authorized by the Sound Transit Executive Committee on Thursday, Sept. 5, the agreement ends a legal dispute over Sound Transit's steps to acquire the land for track and signal upgrades needed to expand its Sounder commuter rail service.

As a show of good faith toward approving the settlement agreement, the City gave Sound Transit immediate access to the land, enabling crews to begin working on the improvements last week. Approval of the agreement will formally end Sound Transit's condemnation action against the City of Renton. Prior to the agreement, Renton was evaluating options following an Aug. 16 decision by a King County Superior Court judge that Sound Transit has the authority to condemn the property.

In response to City of Renton concerns, Sound Transit also agreed to put construction of a permanent Sounder commuter rail station at Longacres on hold for up to 10 years to allow additional evaluation of options and funding for integrating the station with nearby projects.

"I'd like to thank the City of Renton for working with us to resolve this dispute," said Sound Transit Executive Director Joni Earl. "We're looking forward to working with the City on projects in the area."

"We appreciate Sound Transit's willingness to work with Renton to address our concerns and achieve a solution that is advantageous to both parties," said City of Renton Mayor Jesse Tanner.

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