Sound Transit's New Interim Commuter Rail Director Named

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David Beal, Program Manager of Project Development for Sounder commuter rail, will take over as interim Director of the Sounder rail project, Sound Transit announced today. Beal's promotion will take effect when the resignation of Paul Price, the current Director, becomes effective September 4th.

"David has been with Sound Transit from the beginning and has worked closely with Paul Price," explained Joni Earl, Sound Transit's Executive Director. "I am confident the transition will be smooth and David will continue Sounder's record of success led by Paul."

David Beal has been a professional transportation planner for 20 years, first with the city of Chicago and Metra Commuter railroad in the Chicago area, then with the Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority, which became Sound Transit four years ago. He negotiated the Amtrak contract for maintenance of rail cars, was project manager for the downtown Seattle Sounder station and has supported the director in staff and budgetary management.

Paul Price became Director for Sounder four years ago and got the commuter rail running between Tacoma and Seattle within the Sound Move schedule and the budget, with partnerships from other agencies. That route required the first new agreement since 1906 between railroad companies for use of railroad interlocks. It also meant upgrading the tracks, building stations in seven different cities and negotiating contracts with both BNSF and Amtrak. Sounder now carries an average of 2,200 passengers a day and runs special trains to Sunday Mariner games and the Puyallup Fair.

"Achievements under Paul's leadership are tremendous," Earl said of Price. "For the first time in 50 years, commuter trains are running in Puget Sound again. Paul can take credit for that."

"I am proud to have worked with such an outstanding and dedicated staff to deliver the first segment of the Sounder line, and to set in motion a means to deliver to the people of Puget Sound the remaining portions of Sounder in the next few years," Price said in his resignation letter.

Beal is aware of the many critical issues facing Sounder, "We are looking forward to building the remainder of the Sounder line up to Everett and south to Lakewood, bringing all 83 miles into service with 30 trains a day, which is what voters approved in Sound Move."

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