Today, Senator Tracey Eide and Sound Transit Boardmember Pete Von Reichbauer (along with other boardmembers and CEO Joni Earl) proposed that Sound Transit commit $25 million to do design, engineering and environmental review for light rail not just to S. 272nd St. (the endpoint planned for 2023 in Sound Transit 2), but to Federal Way Transit Center.
This way, if future funding became available through another Sound Transit ballot measure, a state funding package, or federal match, Federal Way would be ready to go immediately. This still has to get through committee and a full Sound Transit board vote, but with four boardmembers present, that sounds likely.
Senator Eide also confirmed that negotiating this began before the legislative session – before Federal Way mayor Priest’s legislative temper tantrum. It was pointed out early in the meeting that Federal Way was invited to the table when revenue projections first put light rail in jeopardy – and didn’t show up. Even despite the adversarial relationship Priest has continued to pursue, Sound Transit and the state have worked together to ensure that Federal Way is served as well as possible.
The big question I asked was whether there was state funding in the works to help get Federal Way on track. Senator Eide, a vice chair of Senate Transportation in Olympia, replied – “That’s why I’m here.” Perhaps with her leadership, Sound Transit could see increased legislative support in years to come. I look forward to it!