Like the rest of our transit agencies and government bodies, Sound Transit also faces some 20% shortfall in sales tax revenue (and a hit to their MVET, as well).
Over the next 15 years, that equates to a drop of $3.1 billion in cumulative revenue for the agency. (By that time, revenue will be long stable again, it doesn’t add anything to look farther ahead.)
Today Sound Transit was kind enough to give Mike Lindblom and me a briefing on what this means for Sound Transit 2 projects, and the resulting news is pretty good: the padding Sound Transit had in ST2 is actually about the same as the revenue shortfall.
Sound Transit will be value-engineering everything to create new padding inside their shrunken revenue – they’re trying to ensure they don’t ride the edge of their budget for the next 15 years. Among other plans for cost savings, they also identified several places where expenditures that were planned to be immediate may not happen immediately – like matching funds provided if an operator wants to build something on the BNSF Eastside track. They’ve gotten unexpected grants lately, interest rates have been low, and bids have come under budget.
The big thing to take away is that Sound Transit showed us an aggressive plan that should keep ST2 projects on schedule. Given the last eight years of project delivery, I’m inclined to believe they can do it.