Final East Link Alignment (Sound Transit)

The Sound Transit board on Thursday officially selected an alignment for East Link, which services the South Bellevue Park and Ride, and also tunnels under downtown Bellevue. The line will be entirely grade-separated from the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel to Hospital Station in Bellevue.

There are still some gates to pass through before we can be sure that this alignment will happen. The City of Bellevue and Sound Transit have to sign a final, binding agreement. Bellevue has to actually produce the $160m they’ve committed to the tunnel, and Sound Transit has to find about $150m.

The uncertainty about how ST will fund its share prompted the two no votes in the 15-2 decision, King County Councilman Larry Phillips and Mayor Mike McGinn. One possibility brought up in the meeting is to find funds in the North King (Seattle/Shoreline) subarea, where tax revenue is bouncing back strong and projects have come in under budget.

I’m hearing murmurs that some Seattleites are outraged. There are two questions here: what are the impacts on North King projects, and what are the legal and “justice” issues of using North King money to pay for East King projects? In short, the answer to the first question is probably “not much, but be careful;” to the second, “none at all.”

In terms of project impact, it’s really impossible to say at this stage. To state some principles: Northgate to Downtown is the biggest slam dunk transportation project in the state and ST should not compromise there on scope or schedule.Taking money obviously increases risk, but there’s lots of project to cut before Northgate is threatened even if things go terribly. Cleaning out North King’s petty cash may eliminate consideration of Seattle’s desired add-ons, like a $30m Aloha extension to the First Hill streetcar.

As for the justice of it all, I’m entirely unmoved. There’s a lot of ambiguity over what is an “East King” or a “North King” project, and typically that ambiguity has favored North King because East has the money and North has the demand. For instance, East King is paying (for now) for the entire East Link project, starting at the DSTT and including the Rainier/I-90 station. Similarly, spokesman Geoff Patrick confirms all Eastside ST buses – 540, 542, 545, 550, 554, 555, 556 – are paid for entirely by East King, even though Seattle residents definitely get more than zero benefit out of them.

118 Replies to “ST Board Selects Tunnel for Bellevue”

  1. My theory is that most people didn’t know sub area equity existed in the first place, but I could be wrong.

    1. Given how many people think the bus system is inefficient because it runs buses in the middle of the day, you could be on to something…

    2. If anyone’s getting the shaft here, it’s people on the North Corridor — Northgate to Lynnwood. University Link and North Link are pretty securely funded, but the cupboard is nearly bare for North Corridor, especially if this deal goes through. I’m surprised Snohomish members went along with this, as the longer it takes until Link reaches Lynnwood or Mountlake Terrace, the longer CT has to drive fleets of buses hundres of miles a day down I-5. The Aloha streetcar extension is nice to have, but it’s low priority and I’d happily sacrifice it to get Link through Bellevue.

      The point about most ST Express routes being charged to everything other than Seattle is a good one, but I’d rather they sat down and decided which buses should be split between subareas (some routes do, in fact, have practically no Seattle riders on them, whereas some, like the 594, have full reverse-peak loads at rush hour), and went back and reallocated that money according to an explicit rule that took ridership into account. Hand-wavey arguments about who benefits are very iffy. Given our fractious regional politics, I’d rather have straightforward (if imperfect) rules about allocating costs.

      1. Be careful of rules and how they split costs between subareas. Part of the reason for deadheading, at least in Metro, is to avoid having the reverse route charged to the north subarea.

        The result is that outlying suburbs get starved for workers able to get there by bus, and businesses pick up and move to Seattle.

      2. ST deadheads a much lower percentage of its routes than Metro. Some routes, like those to Federal Way, don’t get much ridership in the reverse-peak. Some, like those to Bellevue, Redmond, and Tacoma, get tons. I’m suggesting that rather than making vague, ad hoc assessments of benefit to justify this kind of transfer, sit down and hash out some consistent way of apportioning cost.

        For instance, the City of Tacoma is paying to build an infill station on Tacoma Link. Setting aside whether this is a good idea or not, you could apply the argument Martin has laid out here with the Eastside routes to the Tacoma routes, which are nearly full in the reverse-peak* for North King to pay for a chunk of that. Where does it end, and who gets how much? I don’t think this is a good precedent.

        * In my highly scientific sampling method of watching them go south in the mornings as I drink coffee at Trabant.

      3. “If anyone’s getting the shaft here, it’s people on the North Corridor — Northgate to Lynnwood.”

        I don’t think this is accurate. The Lynnwood segment is the next in line for federal funding, and is going into preliminary engineering next year. Sounds like full speed ahead to me.

      4. I agree about North Corridor. I would hate to see Link running along I-5 instead of in a place where TOD is possible (Aurora) because ST spent all the Shoreline/North Seattle money on a Bellevue tunnel.

  2. I guess most reasonable and logical way to handle this is to shift the some or all costs within Seattle’s city limit to the North King subarea. I think these costs would be in the range of $100 to $200 million.

    Eliminating the subarea policy is my favorite idea, but I don’t want to see unnecessary political suspense in the process, especially when ST has plenty of other issues to deal with.

    1. You really don’t want to eliminate sub-area equity if you care about transit within Seattle and Shorline. While it was intended by McKenna & Co. as a “screw Seattle” measure it actually protects against North King money from being diverted to suburban service and projects.

      This is even more important when it comes time for ST3. Due to sub-area equity there will have to be substantial projects in Seattle if the other sub-areas are to get anything on their wish lists. Even a mild ST3 measure that only funds segment E to Downtown Redmond, South to Federal Way TC, North to Ash Way P&R, and Tacoma Link extensions will still have to do something fairly major in Seattle. Perhaps not anything as major as a new Link tunnel downtown and the full Ballard/45th Link corridor but ST could fund the HCT portion of the TMP.

      1. And all those other subareas will want substantially more than just “the stuff we didn’t get in ST2” – Snohomish will want to extend up to Everett, East King will want to at least start some other rail project, and South King will want to only go as far as Federal Way TC if they only get as far as one stop past 200th. I’d say Seattle’s pretty much set for at least one major rail line.

        Seattle may have gotten screwed by subarea equity in ST1, when South King was the only other subarea getting any rail.

        That I-90/Rainier station and the line from there to the transit tunnel gets moved to North King seems like a slam dunk.

  3. Cleaning out North King’s petty cash may eliminate consideration of Seattle’s desired add-ons, like a $30m Aloha extension to the First Hill streetcar.

    I am hardly unbiased (living near that proposed extension) but I do think projects that add rail service to additional areas should be prioritized over grade-vs-tunnel.

    1. $30m for the Aloha extension seems awfully high considering 10th & Aloha is less than a mile from Broadway & Denny. Can anybody throw me some links with more details? I’d love to see the First Hill line extended, just curious why it’s so expensive.

  4. I’ve been a proponent of a surface alignment through DT Bellevue for it’s walkability and lower cost. But even I have to admit that this alignment, if it works out, will be faster, and quieter for the vast majority along the line. The BBB folks are probably mad as hornets but if they want to sell, I’m sure many with a long-term vision will be in line to buy those homes.

    Kudos to COB for actually moving forward and pitching their BBB backers over the side – at least so far.

  5. One important thing to consider from the Seattle perspective is that if half the North Link trains will be coming in from the East, reliable travel time heading west into downtown is important if you want North Link to maintain a consistent headway, rather than have trains enter the tunnel in bunches. The tunnel, by providing reliable travel times through Bellevue, helps ensure this consistency, thereby providing a benefit to anyone who rides North Link, even those that never step foot in Bellevue.

    Furthermore, Seattle and Bellevue are not islands and commuter patterns are not just people in Bellevue going into downtown Seattle for work – there are lots of people living in Seattle who work on the eastside and this will continue to be the case long into the future. The fact that 520 often has more congestion going east in the morning and west in the afternoon than the other way around is proof of this, as is the fact that buses heading in the morning from Seattle to Bellevue and Redmond today are often packed.

    Finally, when you think about Seattle->Redmond trips, the tunnel makes all sorts of efficiencies possible down the line. Without the tunnel, travel times from Redmond to Seattle by Link would be unacceptable compared with the improved 520, which is on pace to be finished well before East Link gets built. This would mean that to attract riders, route 545 would still have to continue to operate all day to downtown, essentially duplicating Link to save 15 minutes or so. With the time savings you get from the tunnel, it would now become possible to have 545 just do peak runs from capitol hill to Redmond and rely on Link for the all-day travel to downtown. For travel to the U-district and north Seattle, route 542 could handle the all-day traffic, although perhaps, some service hours could be saved by shortening it a little around the U-district, with a transfer to north link to continue on.

    1. The tunnel isn’t a 15 minutes savings, although it is some.

      Either way, the 545 will always be significantly faster than the light rail, if by the simple facts that it can go 60mph for the majority of its trip, has fewer stops, and takes a more direct path (whereas the link is limited to 35-45mph because of both running at grade and the turning radius of the tracks being too tight).

      The only reason that the 545 currently takes so long is because there aren’t continuous HOV lanes along its path, but with the new bridge there will be so that will be mitigated. I find it unlikely that the 545 will go away when the East link opens. Had ST wanted it to, they should have engineered the Link to run at freeway-comperable speeds by fully grade separating and having more generous turning radii.

      1. “Either way, the 545 will always be significantly faster than the light rail”

        Except when an accident clogs up 520, the I-5 express lanes, or Downtown Seattle – but no worries, those routes rarely get clogged up, right?

        (FYI: I drove a 268 on Thursday and arrived at my final terminal almost 40 minutes late. Between 5th & Jackson that trip is scheduled to take 33 minutes while East Link, using the longest travel times listed in the EIS, would take 30.)

      2. The 545 may move fast on the freeway, but it slows to a crawl getting into downtown. I recently took a trip where the 545 took about 15 minutes to get from the Steward street exit ramp to the 5th/Pine stop. Even with the new 520, the delays within downtown are not going away.

      3. Just my .02: I lived in Redmond up until a year ago, and I used to budget a full hour any time I wanted to take the 545 to Westlake Center.

  6. If the eastside wants to expedite East Link (and I hope they do), they should work as hard as Seattle politicians have to get state and federal money.

    Politicians who haven’t lifted a finger to help fund transit (well, maybe the middle finger) shouldn’t be allowed to raid the funds that are building shovel-ready projects where any NIMBYism has already been overcome.

    Bellevue and Federal Way officials could start by talking to their own state representatives to get better support out of Olympia and DC for transit. So far, that effort does not appear to have been made. Only after that effort has been made should the east and south subareas talk about north subarea funds.

    Otherwise, it appears that the same people who have been opposing transit are now supporting a transit project in order to slow down or kill other transit projects. Where have we seen that tactic before?

    1. I completely agree with that…I think it’s a great comment.

      The route to robust funding isn’t through changes to the sub-area equity policy (although there may well be other reasons for modifying that), it’s through changes to state and federal policies regarding tranportation funding, particularly funding for rail.

      At various times over the last 20 years, I’ve lived in Seattle, Redmond, and twice now in Snohomish County. The public mood in each of these areas is generally receptive to rail, and certainly trending in that direction. And these people assume that the Rodney Toms and Deb Eddys of the world are doing everything they can to pipe in Link as soon as possible. People assume that because common sense would seem to dictate it, however it could not be further from the truth.

      Rodney Tom will say he is fervently pro rail, and perhaps he is, but it’s well down his list of priorities, while gutting state government is at the top, and obviously one negates any chance of the other.

      Deb Eddy is a vocal opponent of ST as an organization; will openly say she doesn’t like it, doesn’t trust it, doesn’t believe federal government certifications of its managerial efficacy. And while this unquestionably smart, charming woman claims to be a supporter of rail, the more you listen to her the more you realize that she only supports rail that A)doesn’t come anywhere close to Kirkland, and B)doesn’t really accomplish much of anything. She’s from a generation that views rail as a good idea for a Disney ride, not as the backbone of transportation policy.

      I recently moved to Mill Creek, and while I haven’t made the opportunity to get out and meet my local reps, a few year’s ago I did talk to Congressman Larsen’s chief policy coordinator for the district office, and she was viscerally pro-bus and anti-rail. This was back when the fool’s gold of BRT first came on the scene, and everybody thought they could use that as a cheap way of getting around the need for rail.

      So yes, I would say you’ve got the right answer, and the public sentiment is already (generally) open to the message…it just needs a vehicle to organize around.

      My suggestion would be for rail enthusiasts in the burbs to start pushing for feasibility studies for streetcar lines in their local neighborhoods. That will both A) move your area further along in terms of policy, and B) inevitably help organize folks around pressuring Olympia and DC for changes to the funding structure for transportation. Those changes would inevitably lead to more funding for Link itself.

      A local streetcar plan is more digestable than an abstract legislative fight or state-wide ballot initiative. It’s something a person can easily conceptualize, and feel a direct connection to the benefits it would bring to their daily lives. And since those funding requests would be from a local consticuency, for a local project, it would be impossible for anti-rail politicians to employ the tactic of dismissing it as another Seattle-centric idea from the hippie set.

    2. Agreed,
      this sets a bad precedent. A tunnel is all nice and well but to reward East King (for what?) by potentially forking over $100+ million is simply unwarranted. The justice question is very much in play. North is North and East is East – very little ambiguity who will benefit most from this project. We have seen time and again that financing follows the pessimistic trajectory. There is no such thing as “petty cash” to clean out. Who is to say there will be such cash? Double dip, lost decade and so forth are terms that should become more familiar every day.

    3. Brent makes a good point. The areas that want more money should be helping ST find more money than trying to take it from other subareas. Especially when the “giving” subarea is also the densest, has the most transit riders, and the people most willing to vote for transit improvements.

      But let’s not jump to conclusions until there’s a concrete proposal on exactly what money East King would get, under what terms, when/if it would be repaid, and how it would impact the Aloha extension or North Corridor. Also remember that South King is also eyeing the same North King money for Federal Way.

  7. “The line will be entirely grade-separated from the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel to Hospital Station in Bellevue.”
    That’s not entirely true. The 120th Ave station is also grade separated (the link will pass under NE 12th where the current BNSF corridor is. This means the line is actually grade separated for its entire length, minus a short segment around the 130th Ave station.

  8. As a proud eastside resident, I am in favor of a tunnel protecting us from the blight of trains roaring through the middle of downtwon Bellevue every few minutes.

    1. Sam, have you ever rode central link along MLK? I wouldn’t call that alignment, similar to the proposed DT Bellevue surface alignment, “roaring” or “blight”.

      1. Jack, something can be a blight in one area and not a blight in another. BNSF’s rail yard isn’t a blight in SODO. It’s a good fit for the area. But it would be a blight if it were plopped down in, say, Laurelhurst.

      2. Classy. Rather than make arguments based on different traffic and pedestrian patterns or the benefits of faster through trips, insinuate the Rainier Valley is a sewer. And you wonder why everyone else here thinks your comments are unhelpful.

      3. Sam, now that you’ve established that we’re just expressing our opinions here, I think most of the cars and a lot of the people roaming downtown Bellevue are a blight on downtown Bellevue. If anything the trains would class it up a bit. But I support the alignment chosen, tunnel and all. Grade separation is a good thing.

  9. I don’t entirely agree with your take.

    An outright transfer of money from one subarea is unprecedented and should not happen. Period. Seattle has played by the subarea rules which essentially pitted Seattle vs all other subareas, and now that most of Link in Seattle’s subarea is funded it’s unacceptable for the board to start to transfer money out of Seattle to help other subareas.

    A loan from one subarea to another is different as is helping to fund a portion of the route from the DSTT to Rainier. My suspicion is that the connection between DSTT and Rainier would be in the ballpark of the range needed so this might be a non-issue.

    1. “…as is helping to fund a portion of the route from the DSTT to Rainier.”

      That station will awesome for the city to have as a transfer point, but frankly, the Eastside needs that corridor more than we do.

      You could maybe justify billing us for the station infrastructure itself. But billing us for in-city ROW just because it happens to be in city limits is analogous to tallying minutes suburban buses spend crawling down I-5 within our borders and billing those hours to us.

    2. North King may play by the sub-area rules, but the rules were written to favor North King. Why does it pay nothing for ST Express or Sounder service?

      Once East Link begins service, will North King pay a portion of the O&M costs for the trip between Rainier Station and Northgate?

      1. Absolutely incorrect, AW.

        The sub-areas were created specifically out of the fear that “transit=urban.” At best, it was intended to ease the minds to anti-urban voters. At worst, it was designed as parochial warfare, to force urbanites alone to shoulder the costs of projects that in fact benefit many beyond our borders.

        North shouldn’t pay Sounder because Sounder is useless to us. Literally useless. There is nothing whatsoever in Kent or in Edmonds that will cause us to take a one-way evening journey from which we can’t even return.

        With the exception of a very small number of routes, the same applies to ST Express buses. Not much a Seattleite can do after getting dropped off at a park-and-ride in the middle of nowhere.

      2. “There is nothing whatsoever in Kent or in Edmonds that will cause us to take a one-way evening journey from which we can’t even return.”

        Wrong. I and, based on the boardings I see, others have taken Sounder both North and South for Seattle Thunderbirds games. Sounder drops me off a short walk from both arenas. If ST ran an express bus from Kent to Seattle, it would make it as convenient to get home as the 510 is from right outside the Comcast Arena.

      3. So how did you get home? Were your neighbors from the train on the return buses to Seattle? Or is it more likely that the handful of others you saw traveling from Seattle to the game actually lived in the ‘burbs?

        Even if every one of the 6,500 people at the game had come out from the city, it would hardly compare to the hundreds of thousands of hours of Seattle transit services used by people from other areas.

        The one time I actually wanted to use Sounder/ST Express for an event at the Tacoma Dome, it totally failed me — I would have had to leave the show 30 minutes early to catch any sort of bus back. To this day, I have never received one ounce of benefit from any Sound Transit service other than the 550 and Link.

      4. Sounder would not exist except for the hordes of suburban commuters going to Seattle, mostly to downtown but partly to UW and other places. For just the trickle of Seattle riders to Kent and Tacoma, they would not have built a heavy rail system. Instead they would have made minor improvements to the 150 and 594, or all the Sounder money would have been put into Link (which maybe could have extended it to Tacoma in 2020 and put an ST Express in Kent).

      5. Oh, if there weren’t hordes of Seattle commuters, they’d either be working somewhere else or they wouldn’t be living in southeast King County at all. So there either wouldn’t be any “Sounder money”, or the region’s trip patterns (and thus transit needs) would be totally different.

      6. The sub-areas were created specifically out of the fear that “transit=urban.” At best, it was intended to ease the minds to anti-urban voters. At worst, it was designed as parochial warfare, to force urbanites alone to shoulder the costs of projects that in fact benefit many beyond our borders.

        The irony to me is as you point out the whole sub-area equity nonsense was created as a way to “stick-it” to Seattle. While it may have resulted in somewhat slower construction of the initial segments within the North sub-area in the long-run it actually benefits the city. For one thing it means there was far less pressure to change project scope and get rail between downtown and the city limits as quickly as possible. Second it means that any future system expansion will need to include projects in the North sub-area. Not just “token” ones to try to get votes but in proportion to the other sub-areas.

  10. Current discussion of “subarea equity” is three decades out of date. More productive all around to think of the present Sound Transit service area as one subarea of the region of the future:

    North suburbs of Vancouver BC to south suburbs of Portland, and Cascade Crest to the Pacific Coast.

    One of private automobile transportation’s most powerful appeals is its erasure of local boundaries. If work and life demands it, motorist can ignore a dozen city lines and three counties- as many if not most of us already do.

    For public transit still to be hung up on these boundaries makes car’s-only politics easy and transit building hard. So Larry and Mike, let’s stop arguing about the tunnel for Bellevue and start looking for money to flyover and undercut at least half a dozen intersections along MLK.

    In twenty years, I might have a morning meeting in Redmond and an international flight in the afternoon. For serious flying, my wife and I are glad to take LINK home from the airport, but won’t risk or advise it for departure.

    For us, real subarea equity present and future means whatever makes regional transit fast.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Or leave MLK as express streetcar, and send Airport trains straight south from Lander, rejoining existing elevated at Boeing Access. Could then serve King County Airport.

      Mark

    2. Prediction: By 2020, when Snohomish, East King, and South King have at least starter lines for rail, politicians will start calling subarea equity a way to benefit Seattle at the expense of the suburbs and will call for doing away with it. The road to this may already be starting in Federal Way.

  11. I think any project that serves two subareas can credibly pay for itself with any combination of funds from both areas. I would be upset about losing an Aloha streetcar extension for some isolated Eastside project, but a tunnel benefits the whole system. It even benefits Snohomish by enabling more regular headways.

    But we should get going on an ST3 vote as soon as it is politically viable. High-capacity streetcar service (with an Aloha extension) would be a good use of North King money if there’s not enough to add more Link routes. Basically, ST3 would complete the partial lines East, South (to Federal Way), Pierce (FWay to Tacoma Dome), and North ( Lynnwood toward Everett). New Link routes would be reserved for ST4+.

  12. I’m very encouraged to see grade-separation all the way past downtown Bellevue! Now we need to grade-separate that little stretch in the Bel-Red area… We’re so close to having an excellent line here, we just need to go that extra mile.

  13. I’m okay with this. Just get it done and paid for as long as high priority North King projects don’t get sacrificed. But East King better be prepared to get a takeback from North King in years to come in future project. All’s fair, right?

  14. Why is this even an issue?
    Segment A from DSTT to Mercer Is. is halfway between the N. and E. sub-areas, with each having 1 station.
    Just split the cost of Segment A by 50/50 between the two, as Seattle gets just as much benefit from that segment as Mercer Is. does. That would split the cost of $750 mil, or $375 each – that’s enough to fund the tunnel, plus some.
    And while their at it, they should allocate 10% of the operating cost to N.Subarea too. Segment A generates 5,000 riders out of the 50,000 total in 2030, or 10%.
    I think this is just a fairness issue.

    1. Seattle gets just as much benefit from that segment as Mercer Is.

      Please explain.

      I can’t for the life of my figure out how my urban-centered life will ever necessitate a trip to the precise mid-point of Lake Washington.

      Suburban commuters, of course, will use segments in my sub-area on a daily basis.

      1. The segment generates 5,000 daily riders. I think there are at least 2,500 Seattle residents who will use the service to commute to jobs on the eastside, if not many, many more.

      2. That makes no sense. 5,000 is likely just for the DSTT-to-Mercer segment, whose ridership will be almost completely generated by Mercer Island.

        The total East Link ridership will be exponentially greater, and I have no idea what portion will be headed in each direction.

        Still, East Link is just a fragment of East Link ST expenditures, despite being the only service useful to Seattleites at all in the long run. Subsidizing the tunnel = subsidizing the East Subarea in general, even though we derive much less benefit from the East Subarea than Eastsiders derive from Seattle transit.

      3. Does sub area equity mean that Seattle shouldn’t pay for East Link because they’ll never use it? Or are we saying Seattle residents will never get off at Mercer Island so they shouldn’t help pay for any of the entire line?

        Since Bellevue Mall will be only one of two Malls reachable by Link from Seattle (and since they don’t have a proper mall of their own downtown) I think there will be flow of Seattle residents going east. Not to mention I’m sure there are a few Seattle residents who work at a large local software company served by East Link.

      4. @Grant: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a city where transit to malls was discussed as much as in Seattle. I might not know what a proper mall is because I don’t really go to malls much, but the point of malls is a bunch of stores all together so you can walk between them, right? Westlake Center, Pacific Place, and tons of street-level retail and restaurants are all within a single walkable portion of downtown Seattle and accessible by transit. They just aren’t all in one building with an enormous parking lot surrounding them (that would be kind of stupid in downtown Seattle). It’s pretty pricey, but “proper malls” are hardly the haven of bargain hunters.

        Another example: Link will make it up to U District in a few years, and the area around 45th and The Ave covers most of the stuff people buy at malls, plus tons of stuff you can’t get at a mall, and plenty of bargains to be had. It also has better and more diverse food and coffee, and doesn’t suffer from that atmosphere of enforced sterility that malls do.

      5. Grant, have you been to Westlake Center? I have, and I’ve been to Bellevue Square, Southcenter, and Northgate, and it seems like a “proper mall” to me. Just because it doesn’t sprawl all over the place or have department store attachments doesn’t make it any less of a “proper mall”.

        Oh wait: it has all the department stores those other malls have virtually across the street! If I was to accept your definition, the area bounded by Olive/Stewart, 3rd, Union, and 7th is downtown Seattle’s mall, and with far more shops than the other three combined, we don’t need a “proper mall”, or to travel to one. (And that doesn’t even include Pike Place Market!)

    2. I’m not saying Seattle gets no benefit. The Rainier station is potentially useful for transfers. And the Judkins Park 3 bus can finally be put to sleep.

      But that would hardly be a priority location for Seattle rail if it weren’t already carrying the transit coming in from Bellevue. It’s not what we should or would choose to build with our money.

      I’m sick of the false equivalence. Suburban riders are exponentially more likely to benefit from the availability of good urban connections than urban riders are ever to benefit from suburban/commuter services. That’s just a truism of metropolitan planning and uneven densities.

      Bellevue/Microsoft reverse commutes are the sole exception to that rule. Still, Eastsiders are as likely to use a LQA/Ballard rail as we are to use Bellevue, and nobody’s asked them to contribute to such a (deeply necessary) thing.

      1. False equivalence? So you’re saying a person living in the suburbs is not equal to a person living in an urban area. What are they worth in your value system? Maybe 3/5th of a person. Next you’ll want to discount their vote by some percentage.
        Look. I didn’t invent the system of charging transit service to the areas where people live. You may be fine with charging all one-way commute trips to the area of residence for Metro buses. Bi-directional trips are split equally.
        So why does Seattle get special treatment on Link funding and operations? Because they are still at the center of the universe, are special peoples, and because you say so.

      2. You have got to be kidding me.

        Urban transport is more useful to all. There are exponentially more actual destinations within its walkshed. You are infinitely less likely to need a car at one end of your trip or the other.

        Suburbanites cumulatively utilize more in-city transit than urbanizes utilize suburban transit. This is not opinion, it is fact. It is a truism, and it is not debatable.

        The “false equivalence” is that each should subsidize the other as if the above were not the case. Sorry, but that is faulty logic.

        I can’t believe Seattle still has to have this debate. States such as Massachusetts and New York recognize the economic benefit of keeping the transportation systems of their primary cities as obvious and indisputable, and thus help fund their operations at a state level.

        But here we are first told that the city must fend for itself, then told we must directly contribute to suburban transit as if we used it more than they used ours. Despite that it’s a total falsehood.

      3. No, I’m not kidding. Rail is just a vehicle for moving people, just like buses or cars.
        By your logic, we would only be charging tolls on the 520 bridge inbound to Seattle in the morning and outbound in the evening, as the Big City of Seattle has ‘more actual destinations’, than ‘lil ole Bellevue.
        Have you noticed the floating bridges are equally busy in both directions in the AM/PM peak. Hmmm, maybe as many Seattlites commute to the east-side as the other way.
        So why shouldn’t they pay for a fair share of the rail line and all future operating costs?
        It’s a valid question, and one you just can’t dismiss with a lame point about NYC.

      4. There may be some exception, but d.p. is totally spot-on here. Of course suburbanites use urban stations more than vice versa.

        Think about it this way: what’s more likely, people from the Eastside choosing to go to Pioneer Square, Belltown, Queen Anne, or Ballard for a night out OR people from Seattle choosing to go to Bellevue, the Overlake area, or Redmond for a night out?

        Also, where are the biggest employment centers? Even with Microsoft, the Eastside cannot compare with downtown Seattle, SLU, etc.

        It’s true that people living in Washington outside of Seattle need to recognize that Seattle is different compared to the rest of the state. It is the employment center, the tourism center, the population center, etc.

      5. Let me guess – both James and DP live in Seattle, and you’re both screaming like stuck pigs at the notion of paying anything towards East Link. Never mind the fact that half of Segment A is within the Seattle City limits, and never mind that half the stations in that segment are within the city limits.
        I’m not suggesting the N. Subarea pay for half of East Link, which is estimated at $3.7 billion. But paying for only 10% of the total project in ST2 seems like a bargain, considering all the commuters who will directly benefit from the service and live in Seattle.
        Pay for your own drinks or get out of the bar.

      6. What’s with the focus on going “for a night out”, and “one way evening journeys”? Most people use transit for getting to work. Does Seattle not benefit from folks coming into to Seattle to work? And there are reverse-peak trips that get people living in Seattle to jobs in the outlying areas.

        As for those nights out, If Seattle is a more attractive location for folks to go to, its businesses benefit from that. Why should the outlying areas pay the entire transit cost?

      7. Community Transit runs an extensive (and expensive) one-way peak to Seattle, to which taxpayers in Seattle or King County contribute nothing except the use of bus bays. This happens presumably because a majority of the voters in their taxing district would rather have the option to ride a bus to their job downtown or in the U-District than to save $20 on their next TV or lawnmower.

        Similarly, neither Seattle nor King County is obliged to bear the cost of the many Island Transit vanpools that run to downtown, although the city voluntarily gives them parking as part of their policy to encourage ride sharing. If Pierce Transit or Intercity Transit suddenly decided to start an one-way express to Downtown, while I’m sure the city and Metro would accommodate them, they would not be obliged to pay half the cost.

        Bottom line: there is no reason why an ST-provided service should be any different to those examples. It’s entirely appropriate that one-way peaks be charged to the places they originate.

        Much of ST’s service is two-way. I think my suggestion above is pretty good: charge proportionally to the ratio of peak ridership. This is going to be close to 1:1 for the 545, 550 and 594 and close to 1:0 for lots of others. Each area pays approximately for what it gets. Too easy.

      8. I hate to break it to you, but an opinion contrary to the facts is not actually as valid as an opinion in keeping with the facts. Sorry.

        You attack James on his “night out” example. Here’s a better version: “what’s more likely, people from the Eastside choosing to go to Pioneer Square, Belltown, Queen Anne, or Ballard for a variety of different reasons OR people from Seattle choosing to go to outer Issaquah, Yarrow Point, or North Redmond for any reason, ever?” Because those places are the majority of what East Subarea dollars serve.

        By your logic, we would only be charging tolls on the 520 bridge inbound to Seattle in the morning and outbound in the evening, as the Big City of Seattle has ‘more actual destinations’, than ‘lil ole Bellevue.

        Actually, I said there were more destinations within any possible transit infrasturcture’s walkshed. Jeez, why do you think so many people in the reverse direction have to bring cars!?

        Never mind the fact that half of Segment A is within the Seattle City limits, and never mind that half the stations in that segment are within the city limits.

        I already answered this. Nice to have, but not a priority transit facility for the city of Seattle. Frankly, it’s incidental to any real transit needs. Making us pay for that segment is practically blackmailing us to pay for your own priorities!

        Meanwhile, South Subarea residents paid a fraction of Central Link and dicked over its urban usefulness (arguing for ultra-wide stop spacing to save a few seconds on their journeys).

        …a lame point about NYC.

        Yes, totally lame to point out that there are places in this country that don’t see using their urban centers as political punching bags as some sort of normal state of affairs!

      9. I hate to break it to you, but an opinion contrary to the facts is not actually as valid as an opinion in keeping with the facts. Sorry.

        You attack James on his “night out” example. Here’s a better version: “what’s more likely, people from the Eastside choosing to go to Pioneer Square, Belltown, Queen Anne, or Ballard for a variety of different reasons OR people from Seattle choosing to go to outer Issaquah, Yarrow Point, or North Redmond for any reason, ever?” Because those sorts of places are the majority of what East Subarea dollars serve.

        By your logic, we would only be charging tolls on the 520 bridge inbound to Seattle in the morning and outbound in the evening, as the Big City of Seattle has ‘more actual destinations’, than ‘lil ole Bellevue.

        Actually, I said there were more destinations within any possible transit infrasturcture’s walkshed. Jeez, why do you think so many people in the reverse direction have to bring cars!?

        Never mind the fact that half of Segment A is within the Seattle City limits, and never mind that half the stations in that segment are within the city limits.

        I already answered this. Nice to have, but not a priority transit facility for the city of Seattle. Frankly, it’s incidental to any real transit needs. Making us pay for that segment is practically blackmailing us to pay for your own priorities!

        Meanwhile, South Subarea residents paid a fraction of Central Link and dicked over its urban usefulness (arguing for ultra-wide stop spacing to save a few seconds on their journeys).

        …a lame point about NYC.

        Yes, totally lame to point out that there are places in this country that don’t see using their urban centers as political punching bags as some sort of normal state of affairs!

      10. I think Bruce pretty much nailed it. Except maybe to say the next $20 would be spent on parking DT for the day! I’d also perhaps argue that it’s really only the 550 that’s a true two way street (maybe even heavier in the “reverse” commute direction).

      11. ” you noticed the floating bridges are equally busy in both directions in the AM/PM peak. ”

        And where are all of those cars going in the reverse commute direction? More importantly where did they come from? And if there was Link service that provided transportation to them would they take that instead of drive?

        I understand the logic saying the suburbs gain more than the city by having transportation into the city for commuters. However, when dividing up who pays for what I’d say the City can only skip out if those bridges are empty one direction during commute hours. Seems they’re not. There are a LOT of people going the opposite direction. figure out if they’re candidate for transit, count them and divide up the cost accordingly.

      12. The point is this: when you invest in Seattle transportation infrastructure, the entire metro region benefits – there’s a good chance most people in the metro have to go to Seattle for one reason or another at least once a year, and many go much more often than that. It is undeniably the hub of the region and where many people have to go for a wide range of services. Even more importantly, the urban infrastructure of the city (Seattle) lends itself to greater walksheds, another huge perk for people coming from other sub-areas. This does not work the other way around.

        When you invest in Eastlink, some people benefit (namely Eastside residents and people who work on the Eastside)but certainly not the entire region in the same manner. Don’t get me wrong, I think Eastlike is a critical segment (although if it were up to me, the 2nd Ave Tunnel to Queen Anne and Ballard would be a higher priority, but I digress), but these funds should not come from the North King sub-area.

      13. Thank you, James.

        I’m very pro-Bellevue subway tunnel, even if I’ll only pass through it once in a blue moon. The fewer impediments to the speed and reliability of mass transit, the better!

        But the notion that this one piece of subterranean infrastructure benefits the whole region remotely the same way an interconnected network within the region’s core benefits the whole region is laughable.

        And where are all of those cars going in the reverse commute direction?

        The sad fact of low-density, pedestrian-hostile suburban sprawl is that you will never put most of its workplaces, commercial centers, restaurants, event centers, and friends’ houses within easy reach of mass transit. You just cannot.

        East Link will vastly improve the reverse commutes to one major commercial center and a couple of major employment centers. That’s it. Unlike commutes into an inherently somewhat (and hopefully one day better-)interconnected city, the vast majority of reverse commutes will continue to require cars until the end of time.

        The suburban value received from urban projects and the urban value received from suburban ones are simply not comparable.

      14. And special thanks to James for the succinctness of this line:

        “This does not work the other way around.”

        Tattoo that on your wrists, people.

        You can’t be a transit advocate without fundamentally understanding the relationship of transit and walking. Suburbs and cities are fundamentally different in that regard. It matters which one is your endpoint.

        If you deny reality in your advocacy, you are no advocate.

      15. Retroactive apologies to Bruce, since I neglected to specify that my “hate to break it to you” refutation of the “all opinions are equally valid” fallacy was directed at Mike and AW.

        Bruce’s preceding comment was completely and wonderfully rational!

      16. I think you missed Bruce’ point.
        ” I think my suggestion above is pretty good: charge proportionally to the ratio of peak ridership.”
        That sounds like Seattle should contribute towards East Link in a proportion of commuters using it to access the East Side, which is where my whole point started. I too think it’s a rational point, and very consistent with current policy of charging the service to those areas where commute trips originate in the morning.

      17. Mike, you’re insulting our intelligence by resorting to histrionics. d.p. said value is not equivalent between urban and suburban users.

      18. I heard his reply loud and clear, and responded with a question as to how much to devalue a suburbanite. Is 2/5th not enough?
        If I’ve insulted anyone, then my apologies Sir. It just seem that the rules of the game for how the bulk of transit is allocated to various areas is a given.
        If you live in a suburb and have a one way route that takes you to Seattle then you pay 100% of the cost. Is that fair? Most will say yes. Me too.
        If a route runs both directions, and has an equal number of riders going both ways in the peak, then both areas should share the cost. Is that fair?
        So my suggestion that Seattle pays for 10% of East Link is challenged with a completely different set of rules and values. I don’t think that is fair. Do you?
        If the truth be known, then Seattle would probably be on the hook for 30-40% of all daily riders. But I’m trying to be reasonable because there is value in having a robust system for Eastsiders to access for non-work related trips in Seattle.
        Geeze, lighten up guys. This is a discussion of ideas, not a debt-ceiling fight to the death.

      19. Bruce made a rational and coherent case for judging cross-subarea usage figures before funneling money in one direction or the other. You, meanwhile, were busy trumping up comparisons to slavery and dumping on the big, bad city like it’s your birthright.

        If we actually worked through the numbers, you might not like what you see.

        Sure, the 545 and 550 get lots of two-way traffic. The only other 2-way route in the system, the 594, is far, far less used in the reverse direction. Reverse traffic on other routes that are run 2-way is nearly non-existent. Because a park-and-ride in Issaquah just isn’t a useful place for those originating in the city to go.

        When U-Link opens, you’ll start seeing a ton of transfers from Eastside commuter routes to Capitol Hill and University trains. Let’s make sure to track each of those riders and charge their usage costs to the East Subarea, shall we? But will you see a bump in urban riders heading to that park-and-ride in Issaquah? Not likely.

        And we must also remember that Sound Transit and Metro do not function in isolation — the urban already subsidizes the suburban there! So let’s get Metro’s rider subsidies back into sync. How about $6 fares for the one-directional commuter buses, while urban transit drops back to $1.50?

        Or perhaps we can refine the two agencies’ revenue-sharing agreement so that any transfer to an in-city bus that commences on a suburban Sound Transit vehicle gets charged, in its entirety, to the ST’s East Subarea.

        And don’t forget the Ride Free Area! Why does the city pay for that? Most Seattleites pass through that area on their way to somewhere, so we’d all be paying the fare anyway! Not all suburban office workers and visitors stay downtown, but good portion of them do — and they’re the ones taking advantage of the free mid-day rides without having to pay again. Even better, let’s factor in those who drive in from the suburbs, then use the Free Ride Area while here, never paying a cent into the transit system, and charge their individual cities of origin proportionally!

        But, you know, “Grrr. Me suburban voter. City bad! Welfare queens! Lower taxes! Give me more services! Grrrr!”

      20. Oh, yeah, I forgot to reply to your continued use of your ridiculous slavery analogy.

        A judgment of the regional value of an urban/suburban trip is not the same as a judgment of the value of an urban/suburban rider.

        One can be worth 1/5 of the other without reflecting in any way on your value as a human being.

        Duh. I mean, really duh. I feel dumber just for having been forced to explain that in writing.

      21. East Link trains will be going to Northgate. As far as I know North King is paying 100% of the cost of the shared segment.

      22. Mike,
        Sound Transit being it’s own agency has its own rules about how to allocate both capital and operating costs to different sub-areas. It really isn’t a big deal that ST uses different criteria than Metro does to decide which sub-area pays for something.

        With 40/40/20 gone the whole notion of sub-areas for anything other than maybe performance reports is somewhat moot for Metro anyway.

      23. Chris, I think you may actually be responding to my point.

        I was offering a hypothetical, extending Mike’s logic to its problematic conclusion: why shouldn’t the ST East Subarea pick up the tab for Metro trips taken in-city by their riders? It wasn’t intended as an actual policy suggestion

      24. Mike Orr is right, however: the moment an East Link rider enters the DSTT or continues on to Capitol Hill, we’re picking up their tab.

        Whoop! There goes your moral equivalency!

      25. Whoa, this discussion went a little crazy.

        As a Seattle resident that commutes on the ST 511 in the reverse direction every day, and about half of the seats are filled in that direction. It’s not close to forward-commute 511 loads, but it’s a significant number of passengers and Seattle residents probably ought to pick up some of that cost. The fact that the bus picks up passengers in that direction instead of deadheading is a huge benefit to me, certainly.

      26. To those who keep incorrectly calling Bellevue a suburb, you are several decades behind the times. Bellevue is an edge city.

      27. An edge city bounded by I-405, 100th Ave NE, Main St, and NE 12th St. Ma-a-a-a-aybe extending east to 120th Ave NE or so along NE 8th St and Bel-Red Road (with East Link set to extend that out to Overlake between Bel-Red Road and 520). Everything outside that area other than Overlake and Crossroads? Suburb, suburb, suburb. Even if you include the office parks, because they’re still suburban office parks (and because of that I’m hesitant to even include Overlake).

      28. I’d also perhaps argue that it’s really only the 550 that’s a true two way street (maybe even heavier in the “reverse” commute direction).

        Definitely the 545 as well. We even have a special stop in the mornings…

    3. Not to beat a nearly dead horse here, but I’m having trouble following the logic of others
      How much of Seattle’s LRT system should surrounding sub-areas be responsible to build and fund the operating cost?
      In the case of East Link, Seattle pays for nothing for 3.1 miles of dual track and one station (all within the city limits)
      Should this logic extend to Snohomish Co. on N. Link? It’s 3.1 miles from the Snohomish Co. line to the Seattle’s station at 145th. There is one station along that segment at 185th. (all assuming I-5 is chosen)
      Isn’t that the identical situation as East Link.
      Some here argue that Eastsiders should pay for all of EastLink, because they will be using some of Seattle’s rail lines to continue their journey.
      Is Snohomish Co. going to pay for all of N. Link, all the way down to 145th, for the same privileged of continuing their journey. If not, why the double standard? What’s changed?

      1. What part of “a station in the middle of I-90 at Rainier and a station in the middle of I-5 in the middle of Shoreline should not be considered urban priorities” don’t you get?

        When you make us pay for connecting segments that you actually need more than we do, putting us further than ever away from being able to afford useful urban projects, that’s extortion and theft!

      2. There’s a certain tunnel proposal you might have heard of that’s an analogous situation: Only useful for passing through, it offers shockingly little benefit to the city itself. Yet somehow we’re railroaded into being on the hook for $billions for it.

        How is that fair in any way?

      3. I guess the part I don’t get is the ‘inconsistency” part. I don’t believe Snohomish is on the hook for building N.Link between 145th and 185th, or the station at 185th, but couldn’t verify that on the ST website now that most of the project archives are no longer on-line.
        I’m also pretty sure the South Subarea only paid for the portion of Central Link between Boeing Access Rd and the Airport. If I extend your argument of suburban cities paying for a ‘buy-in’ to Seattle, then the South sub-area should have paid for about half the line along MLK and the Henderson Stn. They didn’t. Snohomish won’t. Eastside will.
        That’s inconsistent.
        Using the DBT is hitting below the belt, as you know I utterly hate that project and all it stands for.

      4. You are correct. For the sake of consistency, I hope that Snohomish is paying for the line at least as far south as the track to 185th. It may be far enough in the future that those agreements have yet to be worked out and/or made public.

        I have no idea what the cost-sharing demarcation line was for Central Link. The Rainier Valley got kind of shafted on stop spacing for the sake of speed from South King, but on the other hand, South King abandoned their strange obsession with detouring to serve a mall. Give than the border is precisely where the line drops to street level to serve SE Seattle, that would seem to have been the logical funding line. Henderson may not have been the most important station for Seattle’s needs, but the corridor was one of our priorities (unlike the I-90 station, which we could probably take or leave).

        Anybody know first-hand how the funding broke down?

        I wasn’t trying to low-blow you about the DBT, but the analogies are self-evident: it’s a priority for (state) legislators who don’t represent Seattle’s needs, it’s much more beneficial to suburbanites than to the city itself, but the city’s still “on the hook” for its cost excesses, and the region’s “Everybody To City: Drop Dead” have suburban representatives laughing about the situation!

      5. You are correct. For the sake of consistency, I hope that Snohomish is paying for the line at least as far south as the track to 185th. It may be far enough in the future that those agreements have yet to be worked out and/or made public.

        I have no idea what the cost-sharing demarcation line was for Central Link. The Rainier Valley got kind of shafted on stop spacing for the sake of speed from South King, but on the other hand, South King abandoned their strange obsession with detouring to serve a mall. Give than the border is precisely where the line drops to street level to serve SE Seattle, that would seem to have been the logical funding line. Henderson may not have been the most important station for Seattle’s needs, but the corridor was one of our priorities (unlike the I-90 station, which we could probably take or leave).

        Anybody know first-hand how the funding broke down?

        I wasn’t trying to low-blow you about the DBT, but the analogies are self-evident: it’s a priority for (state) legislators who don’t represent Seattle’s needs, it’s much more beneficial to suburbanites than to the city itself, but the city’s still “on the hook” for its cost excesses, and the region’s “Everybody To City: Drop Dead” toxic politics have suburban representatives laughing about the situation!

      6. DP: Thanks for an interesting dialog. I generally agree with your points about the value of dense infrastructure in the CBD, and the suburbs should contribute to that. The DSTT was a good example, where all of King Co. + FTA paid for it.
        If I were an Eastside ST Board member, I’d probably be lobbying to get a better deal on funding half of the A segment, or at least deferring construction on the Rainier Stn. That would cover a lot of C9T costs.
        I’d hate to see Rainier deferred, as a lot of riders getting off the 7 will be using Link to get to jobs on the Eastside.

      7. As I said, Rainier Station has value to all as a transfer point, and I do not object to chipping in for it.

        What I found less savory was the suggestion that Seattle should pay the entirety of segments located within its boundaries, even if those segments are suburban priorities through and through. So while Rainier Station is nice, it would be disingenuous to shift the burden of the Rainier-to-downtown ROW funding to Seattle taxpayers.

        I’m glad we understand each other, even if we’re not in perfect agreement!

      8. We can’t separate the value of a station from its location. Rainier Station benefits those in Rainier Valley, regardless of which direction they’re going. Indeed, the direction doesn’t matter: the point of Link is to provide two-way mobility, not just to bring people to downtown in the morning and outbound in the afternoon.

      9. Actually, Mike Orr, that’s exactly my point.

        Rainier station has some transfer value (all directions) at this location. But not nearly enough that we would have chosen this location as a priority if it weren’t the corridor for Eastside traffic.

        That’s why it would be so disingenuous to make us pay for the entire corridor surrounding a (moderately) useful station as if it were significantly more valuable or our highest priority location.

        Is that a bit clearer than the previous way I stated it?

  15. Subarea has to be a fuzzy thing (and perhaps impossible to do “right”), because as Martin points out residents and employers of one area derive some benefit even from transit completely not in their area. A lot of downtown Seattle employers benefit from costly one-way peak routes, and Seattle residents get to jobs on the eastside.

    One could easily imagine a scenario such as a major Seattle tech company trying to poison a project that mainly benefits a competitor for talent (this wasn’t transit, but I’ve heard rumors that Amazon wouldn’t lease a building if it was shared with Microsoft, and that Microsoft in turn has tried to get Google kicked out of leases.)

    1. Subareas’ responsibility is defined by where the passenger lives. I don’t see any reason to change that. Employers have no control over where their employees live. It’s the employee who commutes, not the employer. People who live in high-density areas are already subsidizing the infrastructure in low-density areas. Why should we subsidize their transit costs too?

  16. Counting noses on the ST Board gives a clear edge to something like I was suggesting. Ten suburban votes, three solid Seattle votes and five swing votes, mostly off of KC Council bodes well for re-allocation of costs.
    When ST was contemplating some really expensive tunneling through Seattle, and trying to come up with enough projects ($$) to balance the sub-area equity thing, it was easy to shove a lot of costs onto the suburbs.
    Now that revenues are down, and East and South area projects go underfunded, it’s natural for those areas to start talking ‘equity’ and ‘fairness’.
    It’s a debate worth having.

    1. Pulling the rug out from under a relatively quick build of North Link is a result not worth having.

      Grow the pie. Don’t re-slice it.

      1. Brent,
        I don’t believe taking $150 million for East Link out of the North sub-area is any threat to the North Link schedule. It might mean some delay to the North Corridor (Northgate to Lynnwood) and it might mean the money simply isn’t there for swinging over to Aurora, but AFAIK North Link is fine.

  17. Another revenue source that doesn’t involve taking money away from other transit projects is to sell naming rights to the Bellevue tunnel.

      1. I would think Microsoft would be more interested in naming rights to elevated structures — they’re in closer proximity to “the cloud.”

  18. Again, my advice would be to focus on expanding the pie, instead of fighting over the size of individual slices.

      1. Oh, this country is flush in money (hence the endless string of speculative bubbles). We just need the political will to leverage it for the common good.

    1. And what does that have to do with anything?

      Tunnels were/are being built in Seattle because that is the only way due to terrain and heavily built up areas that rail can service the neighborhoods it needs to.

    2. The same city that has the most transit riders per square mile, and the most people willing to vote for transit improvements.

  19. East King is paying (for now) for the entire East Link project, starting at the DSTT and including the Rainier/I-90 station. Similarly, spokesman Geoff Patrick confirms all Eastside ST buses – 540, 542, 545, 550, 554, 555, 556 – are paid for entirely by East King, even though Seattle residents definitely get more than zero benefit out of them.

    Are you quite sure about East paying for all of the alignment from the DSTT? When did that change because originally North was pay to for the segment out to Rainier since that station is in the North Subarea. That seems to be the unwritten rule that costs are borne out as far as the last station rather that to the actual arbitrary boundary presumably because that’s where the line would otherwise end.

    It’s not just Eastside, North doesn’t pay for any ST Express service. Although a fair number of people use ST Express to commute to work on the Eastside that revenue helps deffer some of the cost. If funding were split then revenue would also have to be split which just gets messy. I guess some sort of ridership counts could be done and based on origin percentage North could take over funding of one or more routes (the 555 would be a good choice). Will the East subarea pay for any of the DSTT operations cost once East Link opens? My guess is no which is a net benefit to the East subarea.

  20. What were the interests and reasons that prevented this from going over 520 instead? I’m thinking the residents of Medina but I could be totally incorrect.

    1. ST didn’t believe WSDOT would replace the bridge in the time frame they thought they’d build East Link.

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