Sound Transit, City of Seattle collaborate on exploring transit possibilities between downtown Seattle and Ballard

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Combined study saves taxpayer money, improves coordination

Sound Transit and the City of Seattle have agreed to jointly study transit improvements between downtown Seattle and Ballard. The Sound Transit Board today approved moving forward with the partnership.

The goals of the study are twofold: supporting future Sound Transit Board discussions on long-range plans for future high-capacity transit options and supporting the City of Seattle's work to update its Transit Master Plan and expand the city's streetcar network.

"Sound Transit is laying the groundwork throughout the region to help provide connections that get people where they need to go," said Sound Transit Board Chair and Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy.

"Our partnership with Sound Transit is a great example of our collaborative work to better connect Seattle neighborhoods with rail transit," said Sound Transit Board member and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. "I thank the Sound Transit Board for voting to support this important effort and I look forward to continuing to fund transit expansion in Seattle."

Sound Transit's goal
The study will provide the Board with information to update the agency's long-range plans for potential high-capacity transit expansions. This portion of the study will narrow the range of potential services and evaluate routes and station locations for potential high-capacity transit expansions. Sound Transit will contribute up to $2 million for its portion of the study.

By state law, Sound Transit high-capacity transit services must operate principally in exclusive rights of way.

The voter-approved Sound Transit 2 plan included studying potential high-capacity transit improvements in nine corridors, including Ballard to downtown Seattle. The Ballard to Downtown Seattle corridor is identified in the Sound Transit Long Range Plan as a potential rail extension.

These corridor studies will help inform the Sound Transit Board as it updates the agency's Long-Range Plan for regional mass transit priorities and potential inclusion in a future public vote to expand the regional mass transit system - ST3. The Board has made no decisions on the timing or content of an ST3 ballot measure.

The Ballard - Downtown Seattle study is scheduled to begin in early 2013 and be complete by mid-2014.

City of Seattle's goal
The study will also help update Seattle's Transit Master Plan, which seeks to expand the city's streetcar network. The City will contribute up to $800,000 to study potential "rapid streetcar" service along the corridor.

Sound Transit and the City agreed to combine the work to be able to better coordinate transit options and to maximize available funding.