Tomorrow, the Sound Transit Board is expected to modify its preferred alternative (motion: PDF) for East Link. On Monday, in a surprise move, Bellevue Mayor Don Davidson voted with councilmembers Balducci, Degginger, and Chelminiak to sign a term-sheet that establishes the basic funding principles of financing a C9T tunnel. With this non-binding term-sheet (PDF) now approved by Bellevue, the ST CEO Joni Earl will likely sign off on it as well and move forward to select B2 modified and C9T (downtown tunnel) as its preferred alternative. C11A (downtown at-grade) will be chosen as a secondary backup alternative for the downtown segment. These were all earlier recommended by ST’s Capital Committee on April 8th after it was found that Bellevue’s obligated funding gap for C9T was far more possible with a B2 connection.
While C9T is the alignment of choice for the vast majority of Bellevue residents, there will likely be discontent among neighborhoods that have eagerly supported pushing light rail away from the South Bellevue Park and Ride, and to the BNSF corridor. This B7 route has been shelved by ST multiple times because of multiple concerns, including low ridership which wouldn’t justify its construction. The Bellevue City Council voted 4-3 for B7, and 7-0 for C9T.
The board meeting will take place tomorrow, April 22nd, in the Ruth Fisher Boardroom at Union Station from 1:30pm-4:30pm. Public comments will be taken near the beginning of the meeting (the agenda can be found here). We’d encourage you to make it out and show your support to move forward on ST’s decision.