Good riddance. Credit: Sound Transit

The Sound Transit board kicked off the agency’s 2019 budget process yesterday with a presentation from Sound Transit’s CFO, Tracy Butler. The big takeaway: in keeping with recent trends, projected costs will be larger than expected—but so will revenues.

The board also voted to start contract extension negotiations with CEO Peter Rogoff, after some critical words from Pierce County board members.

In wonderful news for riders, the agency plans to replace the Husky Stadium station’s much maligned escalators.

Bigger revenues, higher costs

“Because of the booming economy, we have seen about a $3 billion increase in revenue projections between 2017 to 2041,” Butler said. According to Butler, only one source of Sound Transit’s revenues—the tax on car rentals—has come in under projections. Property, MVET (car tab), and sales tax revenues are all expected to increase in that period.

Sound Transit’s expanding ridership numbers are also a contributor to revenue growth. According to the slide deck that Butler presented to the board, fare revenue from 2017-2041 is expected to be 8.8 percent higher than the 2017 projection suggested, with total receipts of $529 million.

On the spending side, numbers are not so rosy. The 2017-2041 window’s capital project costs, operations, and maintenance expenditures will all wind up costing more than each category was expected to in 2017. Operating expenses increased to $2.1 billion, or 9.6 percent more than the projection from last year.

Capital project costs went up to $1.7 billion, or 3.6 percent more than the 2017 projection. The slide deck attributes most of that increase to already reported cost escalations for the Federal Way and Lynnwood Link extensions. Those projects will cost more than projected because of the region’s hot real estate market. The good news for Sound Transit is that might be changing—real estate market watchers, like the CEO of Redfin, think the market has reached a “moment of reckoning.”

The other main contributor to increased cost projections is due to pressure from the federal government. The FTA now requires more stringent modeling and levels of cost certainty for transit capital projects, meaning transit agencies must set aside more money for new infrastructure than would have been required under the Obama administration.

The agency has long projected a “pinch year,” a budget year when capital costs will be at their peak, and the agency’s bonding capacity will be very near its height. Since capital costs have grown, Sound Transit’s long-term budget modeling suggests that the “pinch year” will come three years sooner than expected, in 2032. CEO Peter Rogoff said that more than 30 different factors, including the impacts of several regional and national recession scenarios, went into the modeling behind the projections.

Board member and Mayor of University Place Kent Keel expressed concern that the parade of headlines about cost increases might create negative public perceptions about the agency’s fiscal responsibility.

“We need a more robust communication plan around all the 30 different factors,” Keel said. “I’m of the opinion that the average citizen doesn’t know that. They hear a number, $54 billion for ST3, and that’s locked into their heads. So I think going forward it would be really nice if we had some type of a deliberate program that continuously talked to people—citizens, the board, everyone—about the ebb and flow of all these numbers, because they do change.”

Contract extension negotiations for CEO Peter Rogoff

The Board will start contract extension negotiations with CEO Peter Rogoff, despite some blowback from Pierce County board members.

Most of the board praised Rogoff’s performance. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan was part of that group. However, Durkan requested an update on the progress of the workplace culture training the board required Rogoff to undergo, after reports emerged last year that Rogoff created a hostile work environment.

Keel and Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier both voted against the motion to begin negotiations with Rogoff. Keel cited regular complaints from his constituents about the MVET—and pointed out that Pierce County, taken as a separate entity from the Sound Transit area, voted against ST3.

Keel and Dammeier’s comments dovetail with complaints aired by Snohomish County officials suggesting Sound Transit favors King County and Seattle interests.

Other news

  • ST staff presented plans to replace all of the Husky Stadium station’s near-useless, deeply loathed escalators. The agency will also permanently open service stairwells in Husky Stadium station and Capitol Hill station, which do not currently have stairs to their platforms. Husky Stadium’s stairways will be open by March 2019. The replacement RFP will have a project cost of about $20 million, and all escalators will be replaced by 2022.
  • In heroic comments, board and County Councilmember Claudia Balducci suggested that offline escalators could be used as stairs. Balducci’s comments suggested that ST staff oppose that policy due to liability concerns.
  • Before voting, with a majority, to extend fare enforcement contractor Securitas’s contract, Durkan pointed out that many fare enforcement interactions come with vulnerable people in crisis. That’s a good sign for advocates who are lobbying Sound Transit to reform current fare enforcement practices, which can shunt such people into the criminal justice system.

This post was updated to correct the timeframe of the new Sound Transit revenue and spending projections.

49 Replies to “Sound Transit revenues are up—but so are costs”

  1. Seems like a pretty long lead time to open some stairwell doors.
    Seems like a pretty long lead time to replace the escalators.

    1. They said yesterday they’d open the doors sooner than March 2019, but March is when the amenities would be done. People can criticize all they want, but it takes a few months to add signage, remove alarms, remove security doors, improve lighting and add security cams. And on the escalators, they also said explicitly yesterday that it wouldn’t need to take that long in the abstract, but that they only want to take out one bank at a time, that they won’t work during sportsball season, and that they want to take the time to ensure top spec. It’s not like you can close the station and do it all at once.

  2. It’s very likely that ST3 will bump into cost overruns thanks to ST underestimating the costs, so if we get to the point where projects don’t fit into the current budget, we should really consider extending the lifetime of ST3 taxes to finish the projects with delays instead of terminating the lines before Everett or Tacoma.

    Talking about Tacoma, does anyone think that a future extension of Link from TDS to Tacoma Mall and South Tacoma Sounder station would be a good idea to take advantage of the park and ride lot at South Tacoma station there?

    Also, Lynnwood Link really needs permanently open stairs.

    1. I would assume that extending the taxes would require another vote, just like it did the first time (ST1 was all about the spine, but fell short — way short).

      Extending Link to Tacoma Mall and South Tacoma Sounder Station? Tacoma — for all of its charms — is a low density, small city. Building a subway system to serve it is overkill, when they struggle with decent bus service.

      1. I think the thing to remember is that you’re talking about Tacoma in a present sense and not about how it could be in the future. Tacoma has been looking to get people and employers to the city for awhile now. That’s why they want the connection to the Airport.
        They realize that the Link will help bring economic development and growth that is needed in the south sound. And while yes there is a lot of low density housing atm, that has been changing over the last decade or so. I’ve seen a lot more of townhomes and new apartments pop up all around the city itself, mainly near the Downtown core up on the hill.
        As for the bus service, I can’t argue you there. I do think that the Tacoma dome extension will finally force Pierce Teansit to think about what kind of bus service they actually want and need for Pierce.

      2. Do you dislike PT’s new long-range plan? The problem with PT doesn’t seem to be recognizing the need, it’s having enough money for service hours to implement it. Tacoma and Lakewood vote for transit measures but Puyallup and Spanaway vote against them, and Bonney Lake and Sumner were an even bigger impediment until they voted themselves out of the district.

    2. Extension of Link from Tacoma Dome to the Tacoma Mall and South Tacoma is a fantastic idea. Great areas for upzones. Tacoma has excellent amenities and can easily support increased density. Routes that avoid the freeway and other areas that impede walkshed would be preferred. I like the SR 7 (Pacific Ave S) corridor to PLU for that reason. Get a college campus on board, along with the low-density commercial areas ideal for an upzone along SR 7 all along the route. The alternative might look like South Tacoma Way all the way to Lakewood, with potentially a deviation past the west side of the Tacoma Mall via Pine and S 47th. Since Seattle isn’t willing to deal with the population and housing crisis, perhaps Tacoma will. So many great options for dense development and a clean start along both of these corridors, with great proximity to the amenities of downtown and north end of Tacoma.

      As far as Tacoma’s bus service, Ross, you are spot-on that we struggle with bus service. There’s a really simple solution to this. Do exactly what Seattle did and pass a City-only bond measure and/or completely cut out the areas that are too low-density for a critical mass of riders or consistently vote against bond measures. Give the people who support transit a way of getting it, and give the people who don’t want transit a way of not subsidizing it. It simply is not productive to have a transit district that snakes out to South Hill, Steilacoom, Lakewood, Gig Harbor, University Place, Edgewood, and Milton, where there isn’t an adequate density of residents or employees to create an efficient bus system, and where the local politics are generally against transit. If Tacoma had its way, it would have restored and increased bus service years ago, but these low-density far flung areas of the county consistently hold it back by voting “no” at the ballot box.

      Here is the current service area map:

    3. Tacoma Mall is the ultimate Link terminus in the long-range plan. In the 2014 update the Pierce delegation argued that Tacoma Mall should be included in ST3 but the budget wouldn’t fit it, so they compromised saying it would be the final terminus in a future phase. I haven’t heard any board-or-politician discussion about extending it beyond that.

  3. Permanent stairs connecting from the platform to the street at Capitol Hill, UW, and U-District Station. Hallelujah!

    Just snap your fingers, and the emergency stairs at Capitol Hill’s south end and UW’s north end (?) become public. Stairwells at other end remain available for emergency egress.

    Anti-utilitarian arsty blockage at UW Station goes away.

    ST sucks it up and does the change order for U-District Station to be done before opening. I wonder if the top of the public stairs will be close to NE 45th St, where anti-utilitarian preservation of a piece of architecture may cost a fortune in bus detours that could have easily been avoided. Maybe we can eventually get ST to remove the NIMBY blockage at U-District Station and get it to open onto 45th, as it should have been built in the first place. Throw in a subterranean passage to the north side of 45th, and prioritizing the passenger experience over the NIMBY obstructions will be complete. Well, okay, there is still the issue of majorly upzoning the U-District to take advantage of this yuge transit investment, and make space for future generations to attend UW.

  4. I attended an ST3 open house in Lake Forest Park last month about the plans for 522 BRT. ST was clear that in all of the options being considered there would be full BAT lanes in both directions along 522.

    Then I saw this from the Lake Forest Park city council: “Lake Forest Park has specific concerns … not having continuous BAT lanes going northbound on 522 … at roughly 153rd St would be extraordinarily expensive and therefore would consider eliminating BAT lanes through that section.”

    So who do I believe – what ST “officially” reports at a public open house, or what LFP is reporting second hand?

    1. Isn’t ST paying for the change, with money LFP already voted for to spend for this purpose? So why is LFP concerned?

    2. BRT is a cheaper way to get transit ROW compared with rail. However, BRT often turns in to not having dedicated lanes at all. Once the cost cutting ball gets rolling, it can be a race to the lowest common denominator:(.

      1. “BRT is a cheaper way to get transit ROW compared with rail.”

        Only if you piss away the railroad ROW that’s parallel to it, but that’s another argument.

        In this case, (no. of 153rd), SR-522 is lined with $1million-$2million homes.
        Expanding the paved area of SR-522, would both take away street parking, and place traffic noise closer to the homes.

        The council is concerned with their sensitivities of these homeowners.
        The closeness of the unwashed masses is extremely offensive.

        They are Persons of Means, after all.

        NIMBY Politics, as usual.
        LFP put up a stink when they installed the uphill bus-only lane in that stretch years ago.

        Same story as the SOT group in Kirkland.

        We’ve got ours, now you all can go F— yourselves.

    3. Open houses aren’t generally “reporting” what will happen. They are to get feedback. What gets presented there are proposals, not decisions.

      Yes, all the proposals might include uninterrupted BRT lanes, but they are all still proposals and require supporters to continue to push to keep the uninterrupted BRT lanes in the final sausage.

      And then, the lawsuits may come, and block what the board decides.

  5. Better idea on those two escalators. Since they’ve already turned themselves into stairways, weld them in place and leave them like that. Question, though. What about the passenger load estimates that called for escalators in the first place?

    And it takes either a lot of male reproductive equipment or their complete re-purpose for brains to trust passengers’ lives to a single word out of Seattle’s real estate sector. Would somebody ask the health department to send somebody over to The Pike Place Fish Market?

    Because remember what happened ten years ago when the power went out under a whole freezer-full of redfin.

    Mark Dublin

  6. Ughhh…..Excerpt that follows is taken from ST’s proposed 2019 budget and financial plan’s letter from the CEO:

    “For 2019 we are publishing the proposed budget and Transit Improvement Plan along with the Long-Range Financial Plan in a single volume. We hope that by merging and working to standardize the presentation of all three. [sic]* This will provide an understandable and transparent presentation of the agency’s financial position in the short, medium, and long term.”

    So, in other words, forget about producing a 2018 financial plan. I posted about this the other day on an open thread how this critically important report has been neglected by ST (at one time the report was published in the first or second quarter) and how I hoped that new CFO could get the agency back on track as far as this is concerned.

    So we’ll see how long this new reporting format lasts. If there is anything that has been consistent at ST it’s their lack of consistency with their financial documents reporting.

    *Didn’t anyone proofread the accompanying CEO’s letter? Geeesh.

  7. From what I’ve seen of Securitas and its employees here and in Europe, I think their whole force here deserve to be sworn in as transit police with a serious welcome. So I wonder how often fare inspectors themselves send the vulnerable into the criminal justice system over anything simply fare-related, involving no threat of violence. Any personal observations?

    Malice aforethought hard to prosecute if I don’t actually do what one certain fare policy justifies. So if an innocent bystander like a fare inspector is in the way….perpetrators once again go free to make a break for the Ruth Fisher boardroom.

    Since offense is only even possible if somebody can pre-pay an ORCA card, my guess is that most violators just shake $124 pocket change into the system and shine it on. Or forget about it. Anybody that can’t? No time to file for Freedom of Info so where’s Transit Passengers’ Union? Madam Mayor-you care about the poor, you make a phone call.

    100% of the twice I’ve been warned about wrong tap-sequence, inspectors hated it worse than I did to bother the Courts with a Monthly Pass holder whose missed “Tap Off” makes them a Fare Evader for a remembered “Tap On.” Judge wishes he could whack the gavel on the policy’s author and become a Hanging one.

    Because all possible offense meant, considering today’s performance report, I don’t think the Sound Transit Board has the guts to discuss this one in front of a TV camera. Go ahead. Make a liar out of me as well as a thief.

    Mark Dublin

  8. I’ve been greatly disappointed that this ordeal has been portrayed as a maintenance issue much more than a supply issue. Replacing an escalator with a stair for such a long distance restricts transit access for many. It’s taking the cheap way out and barely addressing the root design capacity mistake. I think that they should be pursuing these additional systemic changes:

    1. Set a standard higher than 95 percent wherever redundancy poses a capacity problem. If that means adding a new set of stairs or an elevator, do that before taking existing ones out of service.

    2. Establish standards for what’s acceptable based on vertical distance and demand. That means presenting a station-by-station report on how many riders are coming in and out of every existing and future station and how many steps are involved. ST has never publicly reported this and we are sitting two years since ST3 was passed and the system forecast future demand doubled. All we get are segment volumes. I’ve never seen a report on the future DSTT station use post ST3; how can an escalator or elevator analysis be done without having this demand data?

    3. Require all of the ST3 station alternatives to report the time and the difficulty it takes to reach the platform from the street. I can’t believe how we are spending all this time and energy about moving a station platform 500 feet one way or the other but aren’t told about how the riders will get around the station. We dream of street crossings but we still don’t have the leadership to make station design more important to the point that circulation can get cut at the last minute without public discussion (Lynnwood Link cost-cutting).

    4. The ridiculous proposals to have a major transfer point at International District be in a deep tunnel — twice as deep as UW Station platforms (200 feet versus 95 feet) — should be immediately thrown in the trash bin. It’s bad enough for an in-line station; it’s horrific for the most important transfer station in the system. For a board member to not demand to kill these options shows how out of touch they are with rider reality.

    5. Elevate user experience as a group of staff and include existing and future station navigating as part of that. All of these different groups and consultants are spending our billions haphazardly without a user experience input or review outside of vocal public participation. Why should the public be the de facto main guardian of station usability?

    This escalator situation clearly is much bigger than a bad piece of equipment. It’s a systemic lack of designing stations for lots more riders. While a systemic reexamination is a laudable goal, I don’t think it’s specific enough to change much. Hopefully, someone important to them will speak up and say the obvious: “That station is too dang hard to get around and takes too long to use! Honey you can’t let this design happen!”

    1. UW Station was designed for lots of riders. That’s why it has two sets of escalators and two elevators. Observers on game days say it handles the crowds fine, if the escalators and elevators are working. So it all comes back to reliability. Few people would walk all the way up and down a stairway, so the purpose of stairways is not as a choice alternative but as a backup when the others fail, because we’ve seen that they do fail.

    2. I agree with your overall message; you’ve made some great points that illustrate how truly flawed the current station location and design selection process is.


      “We dream of street crossings but we still don’t have the leadership to make station design more important to the point that circulation can get cut at the last minute without public discussion (Lynnwood Link cost-cutting).”

      I’m still waiting for ST to provide me with the reports from the Lynnwood Link cost-cutting workshop groups (held late last year and earlier this year) per my public records request. This is the agency project that I have followed most closely as I live in SW SnoCo.

  9. “Keel and Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammier both voted against the motion to begin negotiations with Rogoff. Keel cited regular complaints from his constituents about the MVET—and pointed out that Pierce County, taken as a separate entity from the Sound Transit area, voted against ST3.”

    How is Rogoff responsible for these? Is he calling people at 9pm demanding they pay delinquent MVET bills? It sounds like they have a problem with board policies and ST3, not with Rogoff. Are they mad that Rogoff directed the people who wrote ST3? It sounds like their anger should be directed at the board, the state, and the voters.

  10. “Capital project costs went up to $1.7 billion”

    Typo? The ST3 plan called for $36.7 billion of capital project spending. That figure is from Sound Transit’s ST3 board resolution, R 2016-16 App. A, page A-5. Is the new capital cost estimate $1.7 B above that figure or some other one? A link to the new cost/revenue projections document would be helpful. TIA

    1. See my earlier post above for the link to the 2019 proposed budget, TIP and financial plan, now apparently a consolidated document (ed. note: boo hiss on the new format).

      I believe you’re referring to this statement in the article above:
      “Capital project costs went up to $1.7 billion, or 3.6 percent more than the 2017 projection.”

      I’m not sure where this figure is coming from either, as it doesn’t represent the forecasted 2018 capital spending amount (this appears to be several hundred million $$ below budget) nor the proposed 2019 amount, as shown in the referenced report. I haven’t had time yet to get all the way thru the document nor have I had the time to watch the board presentation online, so perhaps I’ve missed something as of this writing.

  11. “We need a more robust communication plan”

    Yep, that’s what’s most important to the ST board that is responsible for all the terrible decisions… What we need here is better spin. There is a fundamental flaw in the way ST is mismanaged. Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is?

  12. “The FTA now requires more stringent modeling and levels of cost certainty for transit capital projects, meaning transit agencies must set aside more money for new infrastructure than would have been required under the Obama administration.”

    I’ve repeatedly demonstrated that ST has been budgeting inadequate contingencies on the blog for awhile, especially for ST3. The program needs about 20 percent more funding or 20 percent less building. It’s something that most posters don’t want to admit or discussed. I love seeing the system expand — but I keep saying that to do iexpanson right costs more than what ST told us in the 2016 measure.

    1. “It’s something that most posters don’t want to admit or discussed. I love seeing the system expand — but I keep saying that to do iexpanson right costs more than what ST told us in the 2016 measure.”

      +10 I’m with you there, Al.

      Frankly I was a bit perplexed by the OP’s assertion which you’ve quoted above. Was this something that the board/ST staff simply stated as fact that the OP was simply reporting? If that’s the case, then I can’t fault the OP, but I do have to ask on what basis is this assertion being made? What guidelines, regulations, notices, circulars, etc. from the FTA does ST point to in order to back this up? What specifically has changed with regard to these more stringent fiscal policies since our administration changed over in Jan 2017? The only big notice I’m aware of involved the “Buy America” requirements, including the waiver provisions.

      1. I’ll also add this link developed in 2015 — before ST3 and before Trump:

        The double-speak motive here appears to be ST staff blaming the FTA and implying that it’s Trump’s fault. The truth is that the guidance was released a year before the ST3 vote and the staff and/or board summarily ignored it when putting ST3 together — so everyone could get their favorite option included in the measure.

        The question should be asked is why did they irresponsibly ignore this. This should not be a hand slap but be a full-blown investigation of why the public was deceived. Rogoff in particular should be held accountable as he came from FTA!

  13. Our trouble with the elevators and the escalators goes a lot deeper than either mechanical or fiscal. Because here’s what today’s topic is really about, now and for the whole future. How do you handle decisions whose results can get people killed?

    Latest seismology says not if but when. For the best elevators, escalators and similar hardware we honestly know we can get- what will we have to give up? The hard-core non negotiables. In a whole ST- How many stations? How much track? How many travel-hours? How many trains? How much subarea outrage? For how long?

    I can see a lot of relief from flexibility. Reason I like designs that let express buses segue into rail. But Joe, this question’s for you. From the people your age and younger you know…could you give yourself a set of candidates for your elected board? Because I think from here on, our country’s survival depends on our getting the word “Just” and the sneer out from in front of the word “Politics.”

    So good blog commenting habit from here on. Elected or appointed, the worse somebody is screwing up, the sooner you need to either start prepping to run against them, or help somebody else do it. That way, it doesn’t hurt anything if you don’t think it’s worth it to vote. Because since you do need to be ready to do their job if you get elected instead. And be honest, Joe, what are you going to do when you suddenly get appointed?


  14. Another excerpt from the proposed 2019 budget and financial plan:

    “Begin primary utility work and complete permitting activities for Lynnwood Link Extension. Complete final design, right-of-way, and begin early construction activities with an expected issuance of the notice-to-proceed to the design-build contractor during the third quarter.”

    So now it’s 3rd quarter 2019, eh?

    If that’s the case, then I see this project’s revenue service date, originally planned for 2023, slipping further out into 2025. And that’s assuming no major downturn in the economy, which is highly unlikely imho.

  15. So typical of the self appointed experts here to blame a little city like Lake Forest park for the shitiness of our transit agencies.

    1. That’s what they get for handing out tickets for 1 mph over the speed limit.

      They have our eternal thanks and deserved respect.

    2. The biggest problem with buses is traffic congestion, and that’s the city’s responsibility. The transit agencies can’t convert lanes to something else or install signal priority on their own; they need the cities to decide to, and usually the cities to pay for it. Large project measures like ST3 include funding for conversion, and I thought ST3 was paying for all of it so I don’t understand why LFP is concerned about the cost. It’s not like we’re gold-plating the Link station, we’re just building BRT, and BRT requires transit lanes to work.

      1. They’re ‘greenwashing’ it, Mike.

        Not the same way SOT did with their argument. (i.e. for the environment),

        This is disguised as ‘fiscally responsible’. (i.e. “SOG – Save Our Greenbacks”)

        They just haven’t the cojones to say they just want to ‘preserve the neighborhood character’.

        I wish they would just be honest.

      2. You’re reading more into it than Larry said happened. 522 BRT is in ST3 because the northshore communities promoted it hard and were yimby. I assume LFP was part of that enthusiasm. LFP had plenty of time to raise this issue before ST3 if it was so concerned about “Maybe it will cost too much, or maybe there are other reasons we don’t want transit lanes in that segment.”

      3. That’s because I’m old and cynical.

        and had relatives that lived in Sheridan Heights, commuted regularly through there, remember the politics of 30+ years ago concerning that one bus only lane.

        I have a different read on things.

        I think the only honest NIMBY I have dealt with was the representative for the Kennydale Neighborhood Association back during the I-405 Corridor Program process.
        She was unabashedly ‘looking out for the mother ship’.

        I respected that honesty.
        (of course, having her hit man Jesse Tanner on board didn’t hurt her cause)

  16. Boy, this was a busy board meeting on Thursday. One of the other agenda items on the calendar was baselining the Downtown Redmond Link Extension project (R2018-37):

    •This action adopts the Downtown Redmond Link Extension baseline schedule and budget to
    extend Link light rail from the Redmond Technology Station to the Downtown Redmond and approves the start of final design and construction.

    •The Downtown Redmond Link Extension proposed baseline budget of $1,530,000,000 in year of expenditure (YOE) will provide agency administration, design, acquisition of right-of-way, construction, construction services, and third-party activities.

    •The proposed baseline budget is $1,530,000,000, or $98,000,000 higher than the ST2/ST3 estimate in YOE.

    •This action establishes the project revenue service date as December 31, 2024.

    This is the project history narrative as given in the most recent quarterly Link Progress Report (Jun 2018):

    “Voters approved funding for preliminary engineering for the Redmond Link extension in the 2008 in the Sound Transit 2 ballot measure. In response to the 2007-2009 Great Recession, the ST Board suspended the project. In February 2016, the ST Board restored funding to support preliminary engineering of the project prior to funding approval for final design and construction as part of the Sound Transit 3 Plan.”

    So here’s another ST Link project that is already anticipated to be some $100 million over the projected ST2/ST3 cost estimate in YOE$.

    Additionally, it will be quite interesting to see how this plays out in the public arena if this Link segment comes online in 2024 prior to Lynnwood Link, an ST2 project.

    1. At least that is less than 10 percent, which is lower than Lynnwood or Federal Way — which are roughly 20 percent if my memory is correct.

      It still is an amazing sum of money for two stations, even though it’s 3.4 miles long.

      1. P&R (some 1400+ spaces I believe) –
        LRVs – I don’t recall these being included in the ST3 proposal for this project nor in the recently baselined project budget.

        In regard to Lynnwood Link, the cost estimate escalation is way beyond 20%. This gets kind of murky because of the maneuvers made by ST to segregate LRV expansion and the OMF East projects into their own separate budgets. Also, ST has been less than honest about the original ST2 proposal cost estimate. With that said, here’s what the agency said earlier this year in R2018-16 which baselined the Lynnwood Link project:

        “The ST2 cost estimate for Lynnwood Link Extension, without vehicles and its proportionate share of the operations and maintenance facility, is $2.1 billion. By comparison, the proposed baseline budget is $706.6 million greater than the ST2 estimate for the identical scope. This variance
        includes a $170.2 million project contingency added at the FTA’s request. Without the project contingency the variance would be $536.4 million.”

        Additionally, the most recent FTA New Starts Grant Rating Assignment indicates a YOE total cost estimate that is some $915 million more than the estimate given for the 2015 rating assignment (just three years ago).This is the reason why the fed match has dropped so much from the original 50% level.

      2. Just as a reminder, the 2015 FEIS for Lynnwood Link stated the following:

        >>S.6.5 Estimated Project Costs
        With seven alternatives in Segment A, four in Segment B, and four in Segment C, there are many possible segment combinations that could be
        linked to create the full 8.5-mile light rail extension from Northgate to Lynnwood. The Preferred Alternative would have total capital costs of $1.5
        to $1.7 billion, while other alternative combinations would range from $1.4 to $2.0 billion. The estimated capital cost of each light rail alternative
        is presented in Tables S-2, S-3, and S-4. All of the light rail alternatives would cost about $16 million per year to operate and maintain, but their costs would vary by several hundred thousand dollars annually, depending on how many stations are included. Chapter 5, Evaluation of Alternatives,
        provides additional details.<<

  17. Please correct “Husky Stadium Station” to actual station name, “University of Washington Station.” TY!

    1. How about a more accurate name: “Husky Parking Lot Station”? Or “Bottom of the Hill Below the University of Washington Station”?

      A simple “University of Washington Station,” beyond eliding over the University’s ignominious shunting of the station off into a hard-to-access point on the far side of Montlake Blvd (never forget), confuses it with the still-to-open 43rd St Station in the heart of the University District.

    2. Montlake Station would be a better name. “University” will someday mean UW Tacoma and UW Bothell too. That’s on top of the confusing “University” names already in use.

    3. I happen to like the more precise name “Husky Stadium Station”, if only to show that the powers that be prioritized transportation to sports palaces over transportation to a world class university.

      And yeah, “University Street” Station has got to go. I’m sure we’ll have another knock-down-drag-out post or two on station names again once we’ve halted climate change, saved the funding for ST3, gotten the City to fund the Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Transit Master Plans, and eliminated bus fares.

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