Sound Transit to pay city of Kent $6.7 million for light rail construction costs

Agreement to cover staff time, permit fees for next 5 years

Sound Transit will pay the city of Kent a total of $6.7 million over the next five years to cover the staff time and permit fees related to the agency building the light-rail extension from SeaTac (Angle Lake) through Kent to Federal Way.

The Kent City Council and Sound Transit’s System Expansion Committee recently approved the Federal Way Link Extension Services agreement, with payments of $335,000 per quarter to the city starting later this year until the project is completed in early 2024.

“It covers plan review, inspections and all permitting fees,” said Kelly Peterson, city liaison to Sound Transit at a council Operations Committee meeting in early June.

Sound Transit and the council approved a development agreement in 2018 that identified project location, project elements, station design, development of surplus property, development standards and the design review, permitting and inspection processes, according to city documents. The contract just approved provides the funding for city staff to fulfill the objectives identified in the development agreement.

“We started with the base plan and we knew how long the project would take,” Peterson said about how the two sides came to the $6.7 million figure. “Sound Transit wanted us to be below that, but we fought, clawed and scratched and got to that number.”

“I appreciate all of your hard work,” Council President Bill Boyce said to Peterson at the committee meeting. “To get them to come around (to the city’s price) shouldn’t go unnoticed.”

Councilmember Dennis Higgins agreed.

“It’s fortunate for the city of Kent and our residents that we have you as the front person with Sound Transit,” Higgins said. “We all look forward to what they are going to build. As we saw with the (light rail vehicle) Operations and Maintenance Facility siting process, they are not always looking out for Kent’s best efforts, but you are so I am excited to have you in that position.”

Peterson has worked since 1999 in the city’s Public Works division. He took on the city liaison to Sound Transit position last year and will see the project through to the end. Sound Transit pays for his salary.

The Sound Transit Board of Directors in May selected Kiewit Infrastructure West Co., to design and build the Federal Way Link Extension. The project will include three new stations to be built in Kent/Des Moines near Highline College; in Kent at South 272nd Street and Interstate 5; and at the Federal Way Transit Center. The total amount of the Kiewit contract with contingency funding is $1.4 billion.

The agreement between Sound Transit and the city provides reimbursement of staff time and fees for five phases of extending the light rail line:

• Post notice to proceed design review (starting 2019)

• Early construction (to start in 2020)

• Heavy construction

• Systems/rail activation

• Project closeout (2024)

An example of the number and type of permits and inspections needed for the project include 15-45 demolition permits; 5-15 grade and fill permits; 4-8 civil construction foundation permits; 2-6 permits for each of the three parking garages to be built; 2-6 plumbing permits; 3-8 fire permits; and other permits.

City staff will participate in the development, review and approval of a final permitting plan; review design submittals of early work; review and approve other contractor required plans and other similar tasks for construction of the facilities.

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