Sound Transit Board approves 2018 budget; two projects to impact Kent

Funds for light rail extension, Sounder parking garage.

  • Friday, December 22, 2017 11:51am
  • News

The Sound Transit Board on Thursday approved a $1.9 billion 2018 budget that includes $1.6 billion in light rail expansions and $98.8 million in commuter rail, bus rapid transit and regional express expansions.

With Sound Transit ridership now exceeding 161,000 each weekday, the budget also invests $317.5 million in transit operations.

Projects that impact Kent include:

• $122.5 million to complete the environmental process and preliminary engineering, transition to final design and purchase right-of-way for the Federal Way Link Extension of light rail from SeaTac’s Angle Lake station through Kent. The new extension is expected to open in 2024.

• $5.2 million to begin preliminary engineering for access improvements with new parking garages at Kent and Auburn stations for the Sounder commuter trains. The new parking structures are expected to be done in 2023.

“This decision marks another milestone in the transformation of our mass transit system,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers in a media release. “Next year, light rail construction will extend further north to Lynnwood, East Link construction will continue, and early planning for Link extensions to West Seattle, Ballard and Tacoma, as well as bus rapid transit from Lynnwood to Burien, will include early and intensive public engagement. Our commuters will have more options as we extend the transit network.”

“By advancing one of the most ambitious public transit capital investment programs in the country, Sound Transit will launch an unprecedented level of project activity in 2018,” said Sound Transit Chief Executive Officer Peter Rogoff. “To achieve the aggressive timelines in the regional mass transit expansion plan, Sound Transit will mobilize staff in new ways, engage the public earlier, and streamline partnering work with impacted cities and communities to enhance project delivery.”

The 2018 budget emphasizes continued construction of Northgate and East Link extensions and the start of planning work on new projects. Station construction in the U District, Roosevelt and Northgate neighborhoods will continue, along with tunneling work in Bellevue and design/build activities for the SR 520-to-Redmond Technology Center segment for East Link. The Lynnwood Link Extension will continue final design and begin pre-construction activities. By the end of the year, the agency will issue a design-build request for proposals for the Federal Way Link Extension by the end of the year.

New project work will include continued alternatives development for the agency’s most complex project, the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions, and the start of project development for the Tacoma Dome Link Extension. Project development will also begin for a new mode for the agency – Bus Rapid Transit from the Lynnwood Transit Center to the Burien Transit Center via Interstate 405 and State Route 522.

Specific highlights for capital investments in 2018 include:

Link light rail

$574.5 million to continue construction in all segments of the East Link Extension from downtown Seattle to downtown Bellevue and the Overlake Transit Center in Redmond.

$311.4 million to continue construction of Northgate Link Extension stations and complete construction of tunnel cross passages.

$251.7 million to continue final design and pre-construction activities and purchase right- of-way for the Lynnwood Link Extension.

$122.5 million to complete the environmental process and preliminary engineering, transition to final design, and purchase right-of-way for the Federal Way Link Extension.

$97.2 million to continue design-build contract activities for the Link Operations and Maintenance Facility East.

$154.8 million to advance design and purchase right-of-way for the light rail extension from the Overlake Transit Center to downtown Redmond.

$37.6 million to complete design reviews and operating and maintenance manuals for the recent procurements of 152 light rail vehicles.

$10.3 million to begin preliminary engineering and environmental review for the Tacoma Dome Link Extension.

Sounder commuter rail

$7.8 million to expand service on the south line.

$6.2 million to begin final design for station improvements at the Puyallup and Sumner Sounder stations.

$5.9 million to complete construction of the Tacoma Trestle.

$5.2 million to begin preliminary engineering for access improvements at Kent and Auburn stations.

$3.9 million to continue preliminary engineering for the maintenance facility in Lakewood.

$3.5 million to bring nine new Sounder passenger train cars into service.

Bus and other investments

$41.3 million for initial development of the Bus Rapid Transit system along I-405 and SR-522.

$15.5 million for delivery of 16 double decker buses.

$4.9 million to complete I-90 High-Occupancy-Vehicle (HOV) lane construction.

After voters approved the third phase of regional mass transit expansion in 2016, Sound Transit is aggressively moving forward with the extension of light rail northward, southward and eastward to form a 116-mile regional system by 2041. The expansion will include new stations opening every few years, starting with Seattle’s University District, Roosevelt and Northgate stations opening in 2021, 10 stations serving Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond’s Overlake area opening in 2023, and more stations serving Kent/Des Moines, Federal Way, Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and Downtown Redmond by 2024.

Further light rail extensions are on target to reach Tacoma in 2030; Paine Field and Everett in 2036; and South Kirkland and Issaquah in 2041. The downtown Tacoma Link light rail system will reach the city’s Hilltop neighborhood in 2022 and Tacoma Community College in 2039. Other transit expansions will see the launch of bus rapid transit on I-405 and SR-522 in 2024, major expansions to Sounder south line service that include longer platforms and trains, and service extensions to Joint Base Lewis-McChord and DuPont.

A copy of the Adopted 2018 Budget and Adopted 2018 Transit Improvement Plan will be available at

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