Sound Transit’s wonky Quarterly Reports have been released with valuable but very detailed information regarding the progress of various Sound Transit’s programs. Of course, ST’s big ticket item is this year’s opening of Link light rail to the airport.

One cool bit is that Link’s initial segment, opening July 18th, and the airport connection, opening this December, will come on $138 million under-budget, Sound Transit estimates.

Of course, this adopted budget is significantly different than early light rail plans that fizzled early in the decade. Sound Transit says that its since-conservative planning was used to plan the ST2 extension that voters approved last November. So maybe we don’t have to lose sleep about transit cost overruns anymore.

18 Replies to “Link Estimated to Come $138mn Under Budget”

    1. Eastside had about 700 million dollars left from Sound Move which is being applied to the ST 2 Link. I would immagine that the extra 138 million dollars will be applied to ST2. Perhaps, they can accelerate the opening of the 200th St station. I remember that ST had requested stimulus money to do so. What I would like to know is if south of Seatac is in the Seattle subarea or south King County. The left over money has to be spent in its own subarea! Too bad they can’t use some of the extra money to accelerate the opening of Airport Link!!

      1. There is also the Northgate extension that could be sped up 2 years with extra cash. Since Central Link is in both the North and South King subareas, I wonder how the left-over money would be divided up?

      2. The difference is that $700mn has been raised and collected for the most part.

      3. Look at your ST zone map. That defines the boundaries of each subarea.

  1. Perhaps they can use this money to give the Rainier Valley segment its own right-of-way to keep out traffic as well as passing pedestrians. This is the one segment that can really slow down trains passing between Sea-Tac Airport and Northgate, and that needs to be corrected.

    1. There’s no money! All of this is eaten by sales tax revenue drops.

      1. Exactly. This is really important now that sales tax revenues have plummeted.

  2. There is no “left over money” to spend. Costs are expected to come in below the final estimated cost. They are still way over initial estimates for Central Link which means the sales tax won’t be retired for a long long time. Especially if the revenue doesn’t recover to it’s budgeted amount.

  3. if there were funds to spend, it would depend on what color they were: south or north or both. a reasonable SKC addition would be an infill station at South 133rd Street. a reasonable NKC addition would be an infill station at South Graham Street.

    Bernie is probably correct. note ST dropped the NE 45th, First Hill, and South 200th Street stations.

      1. It is, but the Sound Move plan in 1996 had a stop at NE 45th/Brooklyn. ST2 does fund construction of that station and up to Lynnwood, obviously.

  4. Has anyone noticed how the full line still hasn’t entered intensives?

    The ENTIRE LINE has to be certified through intensive testing for it to open up. And yet the only area to get intensives is the MLK portion or so the RTA says.

    I’ve had to visit Seattle a couple of times in the last week, and haven’t seen a single LRT train outside the maintenance base.

    The tunnel roadway still has the barricades in. Someone explain why they are there when they will have to be removed for trains to operate. Are they going to act like paranoid fools and keep the barricades in and use their forklift to scoop them up every 5 minutes?

    I find it silly that DHS spent money on the roadway gates, and yet they’re staffed by a contracted security guard rather than a police officer. The gates should be kept flush. The only reason to raise them is if there’s a wayward vehicle approaching.

    1. Be patient, testing is coming.

      The Metro supervisor I talked to during the test said there are security gates or bollards that retract when a train arrives. They’ve been installed but apparently they haven’t gotten them operational, yet. He told me that they’ll start full pre-revenue testing in May.

      Several folks seem to have posted here a few times that they’ve done end-to-end runs a couple times already. John Niles posted a comment in the Seattle Sketcher blog that:

      Sound Transit’s activation manager Mike Williams just reported to me that the light rail trains will be moving empty through the bus tunnel during normal business hours, in between the buses, starting mid May, for purposes of testing.

      1. Oran has it right; full scale, simulated service testing is set to begin May 18.

  5. They were running tests on the section that crosses Lander Street today about 3 in the afternoon.

    On a separate note – any insight on the Beacon Hill Station? It still looks like it needs extensive work. On the other hand they are already landscaping the Mt Baker station.

    1. Remember that the photos in the progress report are from March at the latest. This is the first quarter report. They usually get them written up, and out by the first of the month, the month after the report date. If you read the “Next Period” section of the report, that would be for work that was scheduled for April, so should already have been completed.

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