This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.
They’re going the full monty:
Sound Transit will ask voters in November to pay for more than 49 miles of new light rail service, extending it even farther than initially thought, as well as additions to Sounder commuter rail and increased express bus service.
Agency board members Thursday approved details of the Sound Transit II plan, now estimated to cost $23 billion by the time it’s completed in 2027, given inflation.
That’s $6 billion more in construction-period costs than the agency estimated previously for the expansion; the total includes inflation over 30 years. But the agency said the higher cost, if approved by voters, wouldn’t cost individual households any more than the $125 per year originally estimated — a point that makes critics skeptical.
As well it should. But ST knows that they botched the first round of cost estimates big time. They’re not going to make the same mistake twice, are they? Are they?
Back to the plan itself, they’re no longer promising they’ll make it to downtown Redmond, saying the Eastside link will terminate at the Overlake Transit Center. BUT, we’re also looking at light rail as far north as Ash Way (nearly Everett) and as far south as… the Tacoma dome. This is way more ambitious than we thought.
Finally, the new plan also includes a chestnut that should make monorail supporters happy: they’re going to start planning for high-capacity transit to — that’s right — Ballard and West Seattle.
There’s a lot to chew on here, and chew on it we will over the coming months. In the meantime, just read the press release.