The inside of Sound Transit’s light rail Operations and Maintenance Facility in South Seattle. COURTESY PHOTO, Sound Transit

The inside of Sound Transit’s light rail Operations and Maintenance Facility in South Seattle. COURTESY PHOTO, Sound Transit

Sound Transit issues draft environmental impact statement for light rail facility

Operations and Maintenance Facility South to be built in Kent or Federal Way; public comment begins

  • Friday, March 5, 2021 2:53pm
  • News

Sound Transit issued a draft environment impact statement (EIS) on Friday, March 5 for building and operating a Link light rail Operations and Maintenance Facility in either Kent or Federal Way.

The draft EIS, prepared in compliance with the State Environmental Policy Act, or SEPA, informs the public, tribes, government agencies and decision makers about the alternatives and environmental consequences of the OMF South.

Sound Transit studied three sites for the facility in the draft EIS: the Midway Landfill in Kent, and South 336th Street and South 344th Street in Federal Way.

During the 45-day Draft EIS comment period, the public can submit formal responses online, via email, by voicemail, by regular mail or during one of two online public meetings.

Sound Transit started construction in 2020 on a 7.8-mile extension of light rail from Angle Lake Station in SeaTac to the Federal Way Transit Center. Two light rail stations will be built in Kent and one in Federal Way. The estimated $3.1 billion project is expected to open for service in 2024.

The Operations and Maintenance Facility will cost another $1.2 billion to $2.4 billion (depending on the site) with a potential opening date of 2029.

The public is invited to attend an online open house from March 5 through April 19 at https://omfsouth.participate.online/.

Online public meetings will take place at the following dates and times:

• Wednesday, March 24, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

• Tuesday, March 30, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

More information on attending the online public meetings can be found by visiting the online open house site.

Comments may be sent via email to OMFSouthDEIS@soundtransit.org or by voicemail at 206-257-2135. You may also send written comments to: Sound Transit, c/o Hussein Rehmat, 401 S. Jackson Street, Seattle, WA 98104-2826.

The Draft EIS is available for review online at soundtransit.org/system-expansion/operations-maintenance-facility-south/documents. Public copies are available at Kent City Hall and the Federal Way Community Center.

People with disabilities may request an accommodation to participate in an online public meeting by calling 1-800-201-4900/TTY Relay: 711 or emailing Sagar.Ramachandra@soundtransit.org.

Translation assistance for limited English proficiency persons is available for participating in the online public meeting and reviewing the Draft EIS. Call Sound Transit at 1-800-823-9230/TTY Relay: 711 or email Sagar.Ramachandra@soundtransit.org

An Operations and Maintenance Facility is where light rail trains go for cleaning, storage and maintenance. To keep its entire light rail system functioning, Sound Transit needs to strategically locate four OMFs that operate 24 hours a day, year-round.

The Sound Transit Board will consider the analysis in the Draft EIS, as well as public, agency and tribal comments, and additional information before identifying a preferred alternative for the OMF South later this year. Sound Transit will then prepare a Final EIS. After publication of the Final EIS, the Board will make a final decision on the project to be built.

Voter-approved expansion projects not currently in construction face an unprecedented and extremely challenging financial environment. The pandemic-driven recession, which has severely reduced consumer spending and tax revenues, has converged with increased cost estimates driven by real estate and construction market pressures.

The Sound Transit Board has begun a realignment process that is moving forward under a two-pronged approach. The first prong prioritizes aggressively seeking new federal and state funding to help bridge an $11.5 billion affordability gap for completing projects on their original schedules.

To the extent that sufficient new resources are not secured, the board’s second prong, as required by the ST3 Plan, will utilize the plan’s identified tools to ensure affordability under updated projections for current revenue sources.

Information on the realignment process is available at https://www.soundtransit.org/system-expansion/realignment.


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