Sound Transit released new updates to the proposals for three possible locations of a new Operations and Maintenace Facility (OMF) in Federal Way related to the upcoming light rail extension.
Public comment is now open to provide feedback about these changes or about the OMF overall. A draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the OMF was released back in 2021 and the final will be completed sometime after the final session of public comment concludes on Nov. 6, 2023.
The South 336th Street alternative is the preferred plan by Sound Transit. The other two options are referred to as the South 344th alternative (which overlaps in several areas with the 336th plan) or the Midway Landfill alternative in Kent. If the Midway Landfill alternative is selected, it would push back opening the facility for an extra three to seven years compared to the other two options.
Updated plans for the South 336th and South 344th alternatives include a test track and access road that have changed the footprint slightly. David Jackson at Sound Transit said that the benefit of the test track is that it will allow there to be “more cars ready sooner for light rail expansion, not only for Federal Way expansion, but for the Tacoma Dome route.”
Currently Sound Transit tests new cars on the light rail system at night when the passenger trains are not running. This is a short window between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. Jackson said having the test track will provide greater capacity for testing, which would be beneficial for the planned light rail route expansions throughout the region.
The updated version of the South 336th alternative also includes better fish passage through new structures to replace existing culverts on Hylebos Creek tributaries and new configurations for wider stream and wetland corridors.
Once the location is selected, those who rent or own property within the boundaries of the project area will be provided with relocation assistance that can include connection with relocation specialists and compensation, according to Jackson.
Approximately 76% of the 66 acres of the proposed South 336th Street alternative are owned by the Christian Faith Center in four parcels of land. Three of these parcels are current vacant.
The 7.8-mile extension of light rail from Angle Lake in SeaTac through Kent to Federal Way is scheduled to open in 2026.
Previously submitted public comments will still be responded to and included in the Final EIS, so there is no need to submit again.
To submit public comments:
• Attend a virtual public meeting/hearing on Thursday, Oct. 19, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
• Attend an in-person public meeting to make a verbal comment on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at the Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center (31510 Pete von Reichbauer Way S.)
• Email or voicemail: OMFSouthDEIS@soundtransit.org or 206-257-2141.
• Mail: OMF South Project, c/o Erin Green, Sound Transit, 401 S. Jackson St. Seattle, WA 98104.