Sound Transit

On December 16th, the Sound Transit Board approved its 2011 budget. The draft budget came out in October, and there aren’t any big changes from the draft. If you’ve lost track of the rail timeline:

  • Sounder to Lakewood in 2012.
  • First Hill Streetcar in 2013.
  • Link to UW Station and S. 200th St. in 2016.
  • Northgate and Overlake in 2021.
  • Lynnwood in 2023.
  • South Link stations to S. 272nd St. in limbo due to a collapse in South King subarea revenues.

Other items of note:

  • Service cuts to the 510, 513, 535, 540, 554, 560, and 599. Deferral of planned increases to the 513, 554, and 566.
  • A bunch of minor adjustments to reflect the decision to suspend introduction of Tacoma Link fares.
  • 2011 spending on an Eastside Commuter Rail partnership is cut by 90%, leaving just staff time to process unsolicited proposals.
  • Construction on SR522 and I-90 HOV improvements still funded.

20 Replies to “2011 ST Budget Approved”

  1. I hope there’s enough interest in the east side rail line to at least not give the land up for something else. We can decide later if it can be used for Commuter traffic.

  2. I hope they decide in the end to extend Link to Highline Community College if that’s all they can afford, rather than just more bus service down that corridor. Not only is the community college itself a big ridership generator, but also I read a report from one of the cities around there (I can’t remember if it was Des Moines or Kent or what) that suggested dense development all along their segment of the 99.

    1. Highline CC would make the best terminus in the south end if it can’t go all the way. I’m not sure if ST2 can even afford that, but it would be a good goal. I don’t know about density on 99, but Highline CC would be the best place for a BRT/express bus from Kent. The roads to SeaTac and TIB are slow and full of turns, but Kent-Des Mones Road is another matter.

  3. As one of the ultimate goals of LINK in a (presumed) ST3 is to connect to Tacoma, how might that be funded? It doesn’t seem possible without moving money between subareas, unless South King revenues suddenly come roaring back.

    1. Its been a goal since the Sound Move days of the CPSRTA (a part of me still likes the old CPSRTA logo and name vs Sound Transit…)

    2. First you have to get to Federal Way. If ST2 can’t make it past 200th or 240th, I could see Federal Way in ST3 and Tacoma in ST4, but Tacoma in ST3 sounds like a long stretch. The longer timeline for Tacoma may be better anyway. Support for rail in Pierce County is likely to be higher in ten years, and the south King areas will be better built up, to give Piercers more desirable destinations on the train. (Link won’t be the overwhelming choice for Tacoma-Seattle trips because Link’s time-advantage decreases with distance; it may be 15 minutes slower than the 594.)

  4. Based on Census numbers, seems like long term globally they should be cutting a lot of transit North of Northgate and Redmond and preparing for big increases south to Olympia and even further South…maybe down to Centralia.

    1. Not to offend anyone, but the trains leaving Seattle for Everett are getting more packed all the time. The first morning run south is “light” for sure, but do they ever come to King Street in the afternoon!

      As for the ridiculous line of “studying to see what areas are next”or to that effect, they need to start improvising and just get buses on the road, and SEE FIRSTHAND what works. Instead lets waste wayyy more cash for some fresh out of college grads and executives, business as usual.

      1. Um no, let’s not do that. Transit ridership tends to build over months and years, even for high-profile, very visible projects like Central Link, and while I can’t cite authoritative sources offhand, I bet it takes even longer for busses. We’d waste heaps of money that we don’t have with your approach.

      1. Norton Utilities doesn’t like the site linked above, so I copied and pasted the text below:

        “In response to your email about whether the Airport Link extension will run on the east or west side of 28th Ave S:

        I followed up with one of our civil engineers and he explained that the proposed alignment will likely start on the east side of 28th Ave S. , and then cross to the west side of the street. Between S. 188th Street and 26th Ave S. the tracks would run along the east side of 28th Ave S. From 26th Ave S. to S. 200th St the tracks would run along the west side of 28th Ave S.

        At this point this is only a proposed alignment. Before Sound Transit can officially select an alignment and–if necessary–acquire properties in the area, the alignment has to be certified by the Sound Transit board.

        You also mentioned a few properties that have already been acquired by Sound Transit. I asked about these as well, and the engineer said that three properties were acquired earlier this year (one north of S. 188th Street, two near S. 200th Street) as ‘protective acquisitions’. He explained that these parcels may be needed as part of the right of way or construction staging areas, and that they were ripe for development in the interim. Sound Transit acquired them preemptively to avoid having to disturb existing developments later on.”

  5. I stopped getting excited about Link when I realized that I would be retired before I can take Link to commute from my city to the city I work in. And both are in the top 10 most populous cities in the state.

    Way to be over a century behind.

  6. question: in fourth bullet under other items of note, there is no verb; what are they; are they in or out?

  7. “2011 spending on an Eastside Commuter Rail partnership is cut by 90%, leaving just staff time to process unsolicited proposals.”

    So this is the amount they are dedicating to process proposals from all of us Transit Wonks, right?

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