The Sound Transit Board of Directors met Thursday afternoon to conduct monthly business, and approve four annual documents.

The Board adopted the 2017 Service Implementation Plan, and authorized the CEO to implement recommended service changes in 2017. Zach detailed the service additions last month. Board Member Rob Johnson pointed out public comments calling for late night Link service or similar bus service. CEO Peter Rogoff responded that that is something that could be looked into for the future.

The Board approved the $1.6 billion 2017 Budget and Transit Improvement Plan. At the time the proposed 2017 budget and Transit Improvement Plan were released, voters had not had their say yet on Regional Proposition 1 (Sound Transit 3). The two documents therefore had to prepare for both a win scenario and a lose scenario. The passage of Regional Proposition 1 enabled a substantial increase in projected revenue for next year.

The final budget includes:
$396 million for operations and maintenance
$394 million for East Link construction
$294 million for Northgate Link construction
$116 million for Lynnwood Link final design work
$100 million for a design-build contract for the East Link base
$59 million for more light rail vehicles
$38 million to complete the new Tacoma Trestle
$24 million to complete the I-90 2-way transit & HOV project
$20 million to finish the second track to Lakewood Station and add cars for the final 2 round trips
$14 million for preliminary engineering for downtown Redmond Link
$14 million for five new compressed natural gas buses and four new double-talls
$10 million for final design of the Tacoma Link extension
$6 million to complete the environmental review process for Federal Way Link
$1 million for conceptual design work for Auburn and Kent Station access improvements

The Board adopted its State Legislative Program for 2017. Chairman Constantine summarized, “The object is to support things that help Sound Transit and oppose things that hurt Sound Transit.”

The Board authorized an agreement with King County over property usage around Northgate Station, including acquisition of property and temporary construction easements from King County; construction of transit facility improvements for King County Metro including bus passenger shelters, communication system improvements, bus roadway and signal improvements, van service facilities, and bus layover facilities; design and construction management services needed to complete King County Metro facilities; parking replacement for displaced park & ride lot stalls during station construction; and transfer of the parking garage lease (J. C. Penney’s garage) from King County to Sound Transit in 2021. Sound Transit will pay Metro $6,380,000 for property and easements valued at $10,200,000. A few board members enquired whether King County or Sound Transit was getting the better part of the deal. Chairman Constantine quipped, “You’re getting the friends and family discount.”

The Board authorized a Permit and Project Review Reimbursement Agreement with the City of Mountlake Terrace for the Lynnwood Link Extension in the amount of $903,586, with a 10% contingency of $90,359, for a total authorized agreement amount not to exceed $993,945. The agreement provides for design review services by the City of Mountlake Terrace staff, including the hiring of an additional city staff person to perform project coordination of Sound Transit design submittals and review comments provided by city departments, and procurement of a consultant team to perform engineering support during city reviews of Sound Transit final design.

The Board authorized a contract with the Hallcon Corporation to provide Station Agent Program services at all Sounder stations, and some special event staffing at Link stations, in the amount of $5,645,371, with a 10% contingency of $564,537, for a total authorized contract amount not to exceed $6,209,908 to cover five years of service. The contract has a base period of two years and then three one-year options.

The Board authorized a contract amendment with Electro-Motive Diesel, Inc. to provide locomotive overhaul services in the amount of $1,100,000, for a total authorized contract amount not to exceed $19,488,764. This will upgrade the last three Sounder locomotives to the EPA Tier 3 standard, using an FTA grant, yielding better fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.

The Board approved a 60-day extension to the deadline for a developer to complete its due diligence in relation to planned transit-oriented development on land currently owned by Sound Transit around Capitol Hill Station.

The Board gave CEO Peter Rogoff his annual performance review. He received a rating of “Excellent”, one step below the top level of “Outstanding”, which, under his employment contract, entitles him to a bonus equal to 7.5% of his annual salary.

19 Replies to “ST Board Approves 2017 Budget, Lege Program, SIP, TIP, and Northgate Station Land Deal”

  1. For things about which purchasers have a choice, private profits are generally hard-earned and well-deserved.

    But to me, paying public money for necessary things that cannot otherwise pay a profit over and above costs, I’d rather hire and pay the workers directly.

    Anything else is a conflict of interest between the public’s needs and shareholders’ demands.

    Mark Dublin

  2. “This will upgrade the last three Sounder locomotives to the EPA Tier 3 standard, using an FTA grant, yielding better fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.”

    I thought Tier 4 was the current standard. Does anyone know what EPA level the current locomotives achieve and why aren’t upgrades being made to Tier 4 levels?

    1. Considering that container ships and trains pollute an order of magnitude less than cars for the amount of work they do, effort would be better focused on figuring out ways to get people to leave their cars at home, and make their commutes 100% on transit.

      Personally I’d abolish the parknrides down to a few paid spaces for those that really need them, and implement connector buses at Sounder stations rather than spending millions of making a few locomotives slightly less polluting.

    2. Most railroad engines are still Tier 2 qualified, but new and rebuild engines must be Tier 3. Tier 4 is mostly for highway and some off road machines. A new Tier 5 is being discussed, which will address the finest particulate matter (soot), although the US is a bit behind the curve, Europe is further along.

      Too bad Rump and cohorts are talking about rolling back EPA rules. It has been years since we have had to put up with brown air in late summer in the Puget Sound Basin.

      1. Thanks for the EPA Tier info. I’m looking forward to the day when we replace the diesel and diesel-electric buses with pure battery electric buses. Besides the cleaner air benefits for everyone, riders get less NVH and the TCO is close to parity with diesel buses.

      2. Tier 4 isn’t easy to achieve with the high soot diesel fuel sold to railroad companies. The Tier 4 engines that are being discussed for the systems used for 60 hz power in the passenger cars themselves will likely require a urea after treatment system.

        If every state had the same fuel standards this would be easier.

      3. There’s a difference between a standard scale and a requirement. One of EPA’s jobs is to define levels of things that are safe/unsafe or OK/good/excellent based on scientific criteria. It’s a similar concept as the privately-defined LEED levels and BRT levels, or NIST defining what a mile is (1609.344 meters). What Trump promised to roll back were regulations, or what people are required to do. Was ST required to go to Tier 3 or did it voluntarily do so? If Trump further and abolishes the EPA or defunds it, then the ability to set standard scales would go out the window too, but the old records would still exist for those who want to follow them, private organizations might publish their own recommendations, and states can set stricter limits.

      4. There are also state regulations. Tier 4 efforts for railroad engines are being driven by California Air Resources Board and a few other state regulations. There are also agency specifications. MetroLink in LA requires its locomotives to be Tier 4, but that means much greater expense. At the very least the engine itself would need replacing.

      5. Those are built new that way though. The SoundTransit project rebuilds older locomotives.

        You can’t get to Tier 4 without completely replacing the entire engine and generator assembly, and once you’ve gone that far you might as well replace the entire locomotive.

    1. Actually, runs are being added on each already-existing Sounder connector route. That is under O&M, and detailed in the SIP.

      Are there other routes you hope will be added?

  3. Sorry about not being specific. Of course it’s acceptable to contract out construction projects. I was specifically talking about station agents, security guards, and platform personnel.

    I want to stress that all these employees I’ve met, all seem to be professionals who go out of their way to help passengers.

    Which is why I think that in fairness to them, I think they belong on the payroll of the transit system itself. And trained, paid, and offered benefits, accordingly. They’d be a credit to our system.

    My general objection is to the widening practice of trying to cut costs by contracting work out to private companies who have to use public money to pay profits to their shareholders, over and above workers’ wages.

    For public transit, I honestly wish that, as in some countries, there were true worker-owned and operated transit cooperatives. Same for other industries- though I understand that these still exist among farmers, and also commercial fishermen.

    In their traditional form, most conservative business plan of all: all financial decisions made by owners who are always first line workers. Using their own personal money.


    1. My understanding from the board meetings I’ve watched is that the management Sound Transit would have to hire to administer the station agents in house would increase their costs dramatically. Not saying it isn’t a worthwhile thing to do, but we should be clear eyed about the consequences.

      1. I tend to agree with Tristan. While it would be nice if sound transit could have their own staff that would require them to train them and supervise them which as an agency sound transit is not in the business of doing. They plan and build projects. Other organizations run them. The only project which st runs is tacoma link. And if central link ever connects with that then that goes away too.

      2. Central Link will not connect with Tacoma Link. The platforms are too short, four-car trains would block intersections in downtown Tacoma, and Central Link trains would get caught in congestion and become as unreliable as the buses.Cities like Dallas have light rail on the surface downtown and it’s a ba-a-ad idea. The train runs 35 mph in the neighborhoods, 55 mph in an underpass, then it slows to a crawl downtown. Tacoma Link will be expanded and branch throughout the city, but Central Link can’t go that far. Also, the Pierce subarea wants Central Link to be extended to Tacoma Mall, bypassing downtown Tacoma and Tacoma Link.

      3. Er, we’re saying “connect” when we really mean “replace”. Central Link will connect (=transfer) to Tacoma Link at Tacoma Dome Station.

  4. Yaay Rob Johnson for bringing the board’s attention to public comments! I hope the boardmembers always pay attention to trends in ST’s official feedback periods, it’s rare for boardmembers to mention them so explicitly that we know they are.

    I wish the board in general would discuss more issues that transit fans are concerned about and whether they agree or disagree with them. Or explain what steps they’re taking to follow up on them (e.g. asking the staff to investigate and assess the issue), or how important they think the issue is.

    Three examples that have been perennial frustration for transit fans: a transfer stub in U-District Station for a future 45th line, an eastbound 545 stop at Olive & Minor, and the “Metro 8” concept. The frustration with the latter is that ST has never acknowledged that the Metro 8 concept exists, much less what it thinks of it or whether it could be a corridor in the future. Even unofficial opinions by boardmembers would be better than nothing.

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