After a four-hour long board meeting (which was live-blogged below), the Sound Transit Board has adopted the fifteen year plan by a vote of 16-2. King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauerand King County Executive Ron Sims voted against the plan. The board then voted unanimously to send the plan to the ballot this November.
Some small changes were made to the draft plan before the vote took place. The head of the Washington State Department of Transportation, Paula Hammond, successfully fought for an amendment that front-loads the bus service instead of rolling it out in phases, which is a smart idea.
The adopted plan includes light rail to Bellevue to the east, Northgate to the north, and Highline Community College by 2020. Light rail will extend to the Overlake Transit Center a year later, and to Federal Way (South) and Lynnwood (North) two years after that. This is in addition to light rail stations currently being built on Capitol Hill and at the University of Washington.
A 25% percent expansion of ST Express bus service across the region provides immediate relief.
Sounder service will dramatically increase (65%) under the new plan, with platforms being extended for additional cars and new trainsets being purchased. Station access funds will fund additional parking, more feeder bus service, and/or pedistrian/bike access improvements to crowded Sounder stations as well as Park and Rides across Puget Sound.
A streetcar will connect Capitol Hill, First Hill, the International District. Matching funds will be provided for a Tacoma Link extension as well as partnership funds for a BSNF East project.
The plan is financed by a 0.5% sales tax increase in addition to extending current Sound Move taxes. After construction is done and much of the bonds are repaid, the tax will phase out if voters choose not to extend the system in the future.
I’m voting Yes to the ST2 plan because it provides short-term relief and long-term solutions. How are you planning to vote?