ST Board adopts 2012 budget, continues major ST2 expansion projects

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More than $700 million to expand regional transit options

The Sound Transit Board of Directors today adopted a 2012 budget that includes more than $700 million for new construction as Sound Transit continues building the mass transit expansions voters approved in 2008.

"This budget continues the momentum underway to expand regional light rail and keeps thousands on the job building new lines and improving current services," said Sound Transit Board Chair and Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon.

The 2012 budget is just over $1 billion and includes $733 million for capital projects and $199 million for delivering train and bus services.

Priorities for 2012 include continuing to respond to the national recession's significant impacts on funding for completing the Sound Transit 2 ballot measure that voters adopted in 2008. Current forecasts predict a 25 percent reduction in available revenues through 2023. The challenges are particularly great in Sound Transit's South King County subarea, where revenues are currently projected to be 32 percent lower. The Sound Transit Board has directed the launch of a major effort in 2012 to analyze alternatives for expanding services in South King County, including alternatives for extending light rail southward toward Federal Way.

Major milestones for 2012 include:

  • Completing major tunneling operations on the 3.1-mile University Link light rail expansion between downtown Seattle and University of Washington
  • Beginning early construction work on the North Link light rail expansion from UW to Northgate
  • Selecting a design/build contractor for the South Link extension from Sea-Tac Airport to South 200th Street
  • Beginning final design on East Link light rail
  • Opening the Sounder commuter rail extension between Tacoma and Lakewood
  • Building Mukilteo Sounder station's south platform and the permanent Tukwila Sounder Station
  • Maintaining existing services and assets
  • Continuing environmental studies to expand light rail from Northgate to Lynnwood.

Budget details and long-term spending priorities are detailed at www.soundtransit.org/Budget.

With systemwide ridership up almost 10 percent and Link light rail ridership up 12 percent in 2011 over 2010 (through October), the agency will continue its focus on maintaining and growing existing ridership through improved customer service, communications and proactive maintenance programs.

2012 capital spending includes:

  • $461.1 million for Link light rail
  • $176.5 million for Sounder commuter rail
  • $21.2 million for Regional Express bus capital projects

Sound Transit receives the bulk of its funding through sales tax revenues and a smaller percentage from the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET) and car rental tax within the Sound Transit District, which covers the urban areas of King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties. In 2012 the agency estimates it will collect $557 million from the retail sales and use tax, $131 million from federal grants, $72 million from the motor vehicle excise and rental car tax, $44.2 million from farebox revenues.