Projects already in construction will be prioritized. Others go in the realignment process (slide: Sound Transit)

A series of meetings this week will select criteria for Sound Transit’s program realignment. A Board workshop will be held on Wednesday. On Thursday the Executive Committee expects to recommend evaluation criteria for projects to be altered or delayed. On June 25, the full Board is to approve those criteria before a further series of meetings evaluates what is to be done with each project.

The most current recession scenarios, shared with the Board last Thursday, predict a sales tax loss of 26%-31% this year and 27%-35% in 2021. That’s compounded by lost fare revenue, but also offset partly by $166 million in CARES Act assistance.

Added up, the current revenue loss expectation is for $743-$953 million through the end of next year alone. The model appears to anticipate a long recession with revenues persistently below past projections after the pandemic has passed.

Some more federal aid is possible. One bill in the House could direct $442 million to Seattle area agencies (just a little under the $538 million for Seattle in the CARES Act). The back-of-the-envelope math suggests $136 million for Sound Transit, though the legislation is far from passage. It’s enough to ameliorate current operational deficits, but too little to offset the effect of a long recession on the capital program.

The rather ugly current financial picture (slide: Sound Transit)

It’s very early, of course, to predict the effect of the recession on future revenues. After the 2008 recession, Sound Transit did not settle on a realignment until September 2010, but CEO Peter Rogoff has emphasized his determination to make decisions much more quickly this time. The realignment seems on schedule for decisions by later this summer, which means the Board is prioritizing a timely response over a precise view of where the economy is going.

Missing so far is any public discussion of how different areas will be affected by the recession, or what that would mean for the prioritization process. It is, of course, very early to estimate the subarea financials with any precision at all. But it’s certainly plausible, for instance, that the aerospace-heavy Snohomish subarea will face a deeper and longer recession than the tech-heavy East King. Don’t bet on that factoring in the public meeting discussions. But don’t bet on it being ignored in the final outcomes either.

The Board materials are long on discussions about priorities. There are too many competing priorities for them to offer useful guidance absent a great deal of further refinement. In practice, one may view these priorities as proxies for local interests in the upcoming discussions. High ridership areas will fight for ridership to figure prominently. Socially or economically disadvantaged places will appeal to equity. Cities to the far north and south will emphasize the completion of the regional light rail spine.

The question to be answered next week is whether a coherent set of regional priorities will emerge, or whether each area will pursue its own agenda within its own diminished resources.

42 Replies to “Sound Transit to decide evaluation criteria for program realignment”

  1. “But it’s certainly plausible, for instance, that the aerospace-heavy Snohomish subarea will face a deeper and longer recession than the tech-heavy East King.”

    Plus Boeing has its own set of financial challenges that will impact both the Everett and Renton plants, unrelated to the pandemic-based recession. Remember the whole 737 Max grounding? Though I will note that over the past couple of weeks (while still working from home) I have casually noted that Boeing seems to have begun their test flights (777X) at Paine Field again. Those aircraft as well as the cargo Dreamlifters are now being heard again as they fly over my neighborhood which is less than a mile away.

    1. Thanks, Tlsgwm for what we truly need most this morning: Solid information as to something that is really going on. It’ll be great if the officials mentioned here pick up on your example.

      Mark Dublin

    2. Yeah, that is likely to be a major problem. I don’t see Boeing increasing employment for quite some time, even if they recover from the current downtown. Even before Boeing’s downtown, it was clear that most of the urban growth was occurring in Seattle and the East Side suburbs. Areas to the north and south were either not growing at all, or adding sprawl, and thus wouldn’t benefit from these projects. I suppose you could argue that some of the park and ride lots benefit from new exurban housing developments, but park and ride lots don’t scale — having more people fighting over parking spaces doesn’t make the project any more cost effective. To justify Everett Link you need growth in Everett (close to every station), not Marysville, and that isn’t likely to happen.

      1. Boeing just announced a layoff of 12,000 primarily in the Puget Sound region. And that’s expected to become 16,000 in this round of cuts. No surprise they are downsizing here and keeping employees in right to work states. And there’s a huge spin off effect on suppliers when Boeing tightens it’s belt.

        The airline industry is going to take a long time to recover. Alaska should survive but will likely see large cuts which affects mechanics, office personnel etc. along with fight crews. The only bright spot is likely to be air cargo.

      2. I don’t buy into the robots replacing workers theory. If it were true George Jetson wouldn’t have had a job a Spacely Sprockets. Out sourcing (i.e. losing jobs to low cost overseas markets) is real. That killed Detroit. But the reason we’re able to build BMWs and Subarus in the US is because robotic assembly levels the playing field. When companies on shore factories it creates supply chain jobs, robot programming & maintenance jobs, construction jobs, etc. As the article in the link says, the robots replacing Rosie allow the company compete with Airbus to produce more planes which means more jobs.

        Another factor which I just now thought of is laid off Boeing workers that had jobs like robotic programmer have skills much more transferable to good paying jobs in other industries. Poor Rosie the Riveter ended up slinging hash at the local diner.

      3. . Out sourcing (i.e. losing jobs to low cost overseas markets) is real. That killed Detroit.

        It is a combination of things. In the 1970s, Japan and Germany were making better cars. It wasn’t outsourcing — it was competition. Eventually the U. S. caught up — in part because they copied the techniques used by Japan (which were actually pioneered by an American) but also because trade policy forced companies to employ people in the United States. But they didn’t have to work in Detroit. They could build cars in California or the south. Detroit autoworkers also abandoned the city, and moved things to the suburbs (that, more than anything, killed the city). The other factor has been automation. It is a bigger factor in other industries — like coal mining — but it is still a factor.

        Attitudes about automation are often overly simplistic. Companies don’t suddenly replace their entire workforce with robots. But bit by bit, the machines replace workers.

        This is happening at Boeing. This means that it is quite unlikely that Boeing will ever get back to the employment levels they had a few years ago. Normally they would. Normally this would be just part of the usual ebb and flow of local Boeing employment. But now it is quite likely that this is the high water mark — as low as it is. They have already had layoffs. Layoffs are very painful, and companies avoid them as much as possible. Yet the company believes they are necessary, which means they don’t expect to hire anyone in the next couple years. Meanwhile, the work on labor saving devices (robots) continues. It is quite likely that Boeing will just let people retire even as it increases production. It won’t be a sudden change. There won’t be a sudden drop in employment. The big difference is that there won’t be the usual increase, even if Boeing recovers.

        Another factor which I just now thought of is laid off Boeing workers that had jobs like robotic programmer have skills much more transferable to good paying jobs in other industries.

        But that’s the point. The robotic programmer isn’t being laid off. The skilled machinist is. The robotic programmer doesn’t necessarily even work here. Maybe they work in Chicago, Michigan, or back east, close to a university with a good robotics department ( Or maybe they work in Seattle (Boeing still has offices there) and then occasionally drive out to Renton or Everett. If you assemble airplanes, you have to work at a plant (e. g. Everett) — but if you design software, you don’t.

        The main thing is, there will be fewer Boeing workers. They aren’t replacing ten machinists with ten robot engineers — that would be stupid. They are replacing ten machinists with one robot engineer.

        I want to emphasize this again — it is quite likely that Boeing will never employ 100,000 people in Washington, like they did in the 90s. It is quite likely that they will never reach 80,000, like they did a few years ago. Current levels — a bit over 60,000 — will likely be the high water mark. For a city like Everett — that is highly dependent on Boeing employment — this has profound implications for years.

        It is worth mentioning just how dependent Everett is. Boeing is Everett’s largest employer, with 35,000 workers in the city as of 2018. The second is Providence, at less than 5,000. The state is third, at around 3,000. It is rare to see a city — any city — with that much employment focused on one company. This makes Everett particularly reliant on Boeing.

      4. I agree Boeing employment in Washington has hit it’s peak. If they recover to building anything near the number of planes they were before the pandemic and the Max fumble the manufacturing jobs will be elsewhere. The skilled machinist at Boeing is a robotic programmer. Virtually everything today is done on CNC machines. They can take that skill to another industry. The robots that replace riveters still require highly skilled mechanics to keep the plant running. The same type of robots are used in other manufacturing. The assembly robots in the auto industry use the same basic technology. The days of getting a job with Boeing right out of HS and working there until retirement ended decades ago. So the higher the skill level the easier it will be for people to transfer to another industry. Lots of aerospace companies have located in the NW specifically to poach Boeing workers. Zodiac, a French company has come right out and said it.

      5. “Out sourcing … killed Detroit.”

        “It is a combination of things. In the 1970s, Japan and Germany were making better cars. [Later, American companies] could build cars in California or the south. Detroit autoworkers also abandoned the city…. The other factor has been automation.”

        And white flight. White families moved beyond the municipal boundaries to avoid desegregated schools, and built a hermetic tax wall between the suburbs and the city that starved the city of resources to address its problems, while they villified the city and claimed all its problems were its own fault, as if the city and suburbs were in two different vacuums.

      6. A friend and lifelong Boeing observer explained to me some structural differences between the auto industry and the large airplane industry.

        Simply put, it’s just not as easy to design and build a large airplane inventory to the satisfaction of regulators. For that reason, Boeing and Airbus are pretty much operating in structural monopolies and will be for quite some time. Even now, there are many more auto manufacturers.

        Certainly the market for passenger planes has been decimated for a long time. However, the market for freight movement via airplanes may actually be increasing.

        Finally, we live in a climate conducive to airplane production. Companies don’t have to incur the significant utility costs involved in places with more extreme and humid weather when the work sites are inside large airplane hangars. Many here haven’t had the stress of writing a check for $700 each month just to cool an area as small as their homes.

        In sum, Boeing may be hurt but the industry won’t disappear here. At worst, I think it would just move to worksites that are a little further away to avoid high labor costs — but still be in Weatern Washington.

  2. The question to be answered next week is whether a coherent set of regional priorities will emerge, or whether each area will pursue its own agenda within its own diminished resources.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if there is some combination of both. For example, I would start by cutting all park and ride lots, everywhere. They can be added back later.

    Then things get tougher. I would cut projects that I would consider a bad value, but in that regard, it really depends on each area. I would cut NE 85th, because of its expected low ridership. But if you do that, there would be pressure to cut NE 130th and Graham Street (projects that are a much better value, in my opinion). Meanwhile, both Seattle and the East Side are likely to have money — northern and southern areas are not. It is hard to tease out a general set of priorities with a big mix of projects, and dubious ridership assumptions placed on them.

    1. Thinking about it some more, I think it is likely that the board emphasizes flexibility. Cut things (for now) that can be cut, but make sure you can add them back easily if the financial situation changes. We really have no idea how much funding ST will have, simply because everything is so dependent on the federal government. It is quite possible that two years from now, as part of a major government stimulus, the federal government spends a bunch of money on infrastructure projects. This could more than make up for the shortfall. But if ST has already settled on a station to 14th (to save money) then the extra money would do no good. It would be far better to plan on going to 15th, but without the Smith Cove station. That way, once they get the money, the Smith Cove station could be added back in. (I realize that is a tortured example, but you get the idea). The point is, we should focus on being nimble, whenever possible, and not lock ourselves into the idea that we are bound to be broke.

    2. Without NE 85th, the downtown Kirkland area is getting essentially nothing out of ST3. I live over there and the buses down 405 are essentially useless to me, since they all pass me by, as well as run a very limited schedule. For all practical purposes, as far as transit is concerned, the entire I-405 highway almost may as well not even exist.

      The existing ridership projections both ignore potential redevelopment of the car dealerships in the area as well as make very pessimistic assumptions about people’s ability to walk. They ignore all the new residential and office space coming online at the Kirkland Urban building (a bit closer than the Kirkland Transit Center), as well as the Cross Kirkland Corridor Trail, which also passes very close to the area and will connect the BRT station to the Google campus.

      There’s also the fact that, even ignoring the transit component, the construction work, itself, provides a safe pedestrian crossing of I-405 at 85th St., so the value needs to take into account the walkership of the new sidewalk, not just the ridership of the transit it connects to. There are destinations, such as Costco, for which reaching on foot will become much easier when the 85th St. station is open.

      If it needs to be deferred a couple years, I understand. But, it shouldn’t be just scrapped.

      1. DT Kirkland is isolated. It’s not only distant from 405 it’s separated by a steep hill. The hill and lack of any real arterial capacity make it difficult to serve with transit. Totem Lake OTOH has lots of large parcels available adjacent to the freeway and the Medical Center (Kirkland’s largest employer). Just bring up Google Maps and you see Totem Lake as a swath of yellow and NE85th is all grey. Isn’t the only dealership left on Rose Hill the Lee Johnson? It’s not that large of a property. And as soon as you get off NE85th it’s all single family a lot of which is just recently rebuilt with the 6-pack model. The best thing for Kirkland is improved transit priority on 108th (aka 6th St) and NE 85th to Redmond. And add a freeway but from Kirkland TC to Totem Lake and Bellevue TC; a triangle route with buses running both directions.

      2. I forgot there’s also the Honda dealer. But it’s even smaller. I looked on parcel viewer and the Honda dealer sits on 2.3 acres, Lee Johnson on 3.2 acres. Another strip mall on 128th is 3.4. But if you’re building a walkable neighborhood you need at least one full scale grocery store and other services. And no store in that area is going to survive without lots of free parking.

      3. I’m surprised 85th is the on the chopping block, I thought WSDOT was already moving dirt, or was that just 44th?

        I agree deferring 85th would be bad for Kirkland. It’s shovel ready to would be a pity to see it deferred. If it’s really delayed, I suppose ST could pivot to what Kirkland originally wanted with good service up the ERC, but that will take years to get through reviews and legal opposition, I think at this point it’s best to move forward with the existing plan, which is a great for Rose Hill and pretty good for downtown Kirkland, and try to get something good out of the ERC in the long term.

      4. Totem Lake clearly has more TOD potential .. the existing development pipeline is pretty solid:

        But 85th/Redmond Way would be such a great transit corridor if it came together well, I’d hate to punt on it now. If 405 can be bridged with a rebuilt interchange, there’s opportunity for a continuous urban corridor stretching from the waterfront to 132nd, and then it’s just a short bus trip into Redmond’s urban center.

      5. “I’m surprised 85th is the on the chopping block,”

        The interchange redesign is such a large cost that deferring it would singlehandely improve East King’s budget gap significantly. On the other hand, that would leave the Eastside’s third largest downtown with neither Link nor Stride, and ST3 was supposed to address this.

        If Kirkland would simply move most of its activity to Totem Lake, that would solve the Kirkland-405 dilemma that the people are in downtown Kirkland but the most accessible Stride station is in Totem Lake. Some transit stations have de facto done that as the core of the city has moved, but we can’t count on it. In a worst-case scenaro, most of the activity will remain in downtown Kirkland and the Totem Lake station will be ineffective for most of the people who live in Kirkland or go to Kirkland.

      6. Totem Lake is the growth center, so activity is already growing there, but its not like the activity is leaving downtown Kirkland. Serving Totem Lake is great, but that doesn’t eliminate the need for service to downtown.

        85th/Rose Hill is not a growth center, which is perhaps why it is on the chopping block. Also, Stride can work without the station, and perhaps WSDOT can come back later and rebuild the interchange using toll monies rather than transit monies. So it’s an easily movable piece, but I don’t think you can point to Totem Lake and say Kirkland is covered.

        Point of clarification – the subareas don’t have budget gaps, particularly not East King. The issue is the debit limit in the 2030s, not the ST3 budget over the life of the plan. Eliminating 85th probably results in a robust surplus for East King (which can be filled in later), but may provide critical relief until the point of maximum constraints is passed (basically, ST needs to open the 2nd tunnel without violating a debt limit)

      7. There’s an 850 +/- unit mixed use project to the immediate east of Costco (likely including a grocery store and several other shops) in the permit process. That entire thing – probably 1100-1200 residents when full – will be within an easy walk of the station.

        I’m not saying 85th is or isn’t the best use of likely limited dollars, just pointing out a major project in the vicinity that isn’t noted in this discussion.

      8. Without NE 85th, the downtown Kirkland area is getting essentially nothing out of ST3.

        Uh, do we really want to go down that road? Fremont, Greenwood, the Central Area, First Hill and Belltown are just some of the places that are getting nothing out of ST3. Without 130th, Lake City gets nothing out of ST3. I could go on, but you get the picture. ST3 was not designed to improve public transportation for broad areas, it was designed to improve things for very specific areas, in return for political support.

        (OK, “nothing” is a strong word. I would say “very little”. Someone in Greenwood trying to get to Lower Queen Anne will be able to get off the bus and catch the train, saving them a few minutes versus the 8. But even then it won’t be that much, since the worst parts of the 8 (travel on Denny) will be eliminated west of Aurora and the trip won’t be that long.

        The point being that yes, Kirkland got screwed with ST3. Join the club.

      9. The advantage of the 85th station is that a bus can quickly connect riders to the other bus. I get it. You can run frequent buses between Kirkland and Redmond, while connecting both riders to downtown Bellevue. It is ideal from a network standpoint.

        But it is really expensive, and there probably aren’t that many riders. Regardless, the thing to do is just run an express to Bellevue. If there are lots of riders, then frequency should follow, and the riders are actually better off (they get a one seat ride to downtown Bellevue — by far the biggest destination on I-405 BRT). If there isn’t the demand, then spending a fortune on a station just wasn’t worth it.

        Again, it isn’t ideal. Service costs will go up, and in turn, the agencies (Metro and ST) will have weaker service. But the station just costs a fortune. It doesn’t make sense to spend billions to save millions. This isn’t quite that bad, but I’m afraid that the very high cost tag makes it a bad value (even though it is clearly a better stop than, say, NE 44th).

        If the station is cut, then Kirkland leaders have a very strong case to take to either ST or Metro. They can parley their valid argument (we were promised something out of ST3, and now we are getting nothing) into a decent express bus running all day long and a lot of people would actually come out ahead.

  3. RossB: yes, delete all park-and-ride projects not in concrete, including those in planning. Reuse the land for dense housing next to frequent transit; ST could actually get paid for the land. I assume the funds needed to build the garages will have disappeared into the recession.

    ST could also improve its current service network.

  4. A technical note: 522 BRT is listed in the North/Central Corridor rather than the East Corridor in the slide. I haven’t yet watched the video to see if it was noted in the presentation.

    1. Also, the BAR Infill Station is listed as a South King project in ST3.

      It’s curious that the five subareas are reduced to three in the slide — and that they are oddly called “corridors”.m instead.

      All in all, it’s just not a well-prepared slide.

      1. BAR is a South King project. Tukwila was the one who asked for it. It wants to extend RapidRide A to it to support a future village at 144th. It also said it would make it easier to access the Museum of Flight and benefit Aviation High School. Tukwila may have also mentioned a Sounder station; I don’t remember how serious it was but ST deselected it. (Tukwila asked Metro to extend the A to BAR. Metro’s 2040 plan goes further and extends it to Rainier Beach.)

      2. Oh, you mean being in “North/Central Corridor”. It’s probably just to put it with the other infill stations. These groups are not quite subarea-accurate, and the actual cuts will have to be based on the subareas that fund them. They probably lumped North King and Snohomish together because the unbuilt part of North Link has one end in North King, the distance from Northgate to Everett is comparable to Angle Lake to Tacoma, southwest Snohomish is closely tied to north Seattle, and Shoreline is so short it doesn’t give enough separation to be a group boundary.

        The one that’s most misplaced is 522/145th BRT. That’s mostly an East King project, even if Lake Forest Park is in North King. The 145th segment is so short it shouldn’t be enough to pull the whole thing into the North/Central box. And 522 Stride doesn’t benefit Shoreline nearly as much as Bothell. There are many times more people in Bothell, Kenmore, and Woodinville going to Seattle than Shorelineites going to Bothell. And it hardly benefits Seattle at all, grazing the edge of Lake City.

      3. From the 2018 Subarea Report

        East King County subarea –
        * Extension of light rail connecting Redmond, Bellevue, south Kirkland and Issaquah, with two stations serving Redmond, as well as a new line from south Kirkland to Issaquah serving the Richards Road area, Eastgate near Bellevue College and central Issaquah.
        * BRT service expansion on I-405 / SR 522 connecting to the NE 145th Street BRT.

        From projected boardings it’s like 80% or more Bothell and Kenmore.

  5. Anybody besides me wondering if this whole effort might best wait until after the 2024 Election, assuming there’ll be such a thing?

    To me, most plainly dangerous effect of the virus is the forcible separation of the American people from each other at the precise time the Republic’s existence demands we act and think together.

    We’ve got a Federal Government that’s put the word out to employers to make their employees sign an oath not to use transit. Facing enmity like that, yes or no on park and rides is hardly worth the light bill for the meetings.

    Day before yesterday, duly-masked conversation with a young woman at my favorite food court while my sandwich was being packed. Her final word to me: “Priority is to overthrow the Government of the United States.”

    In addition to the perfectly-formed letters RAD tattooed on her leg, have to admire her spirit. Sad, though, that in 2016 the Electoral College beat her to the punch. OK if some of us give Priority to winning the war that’s been declared on everything we’ve been working for over so many years?

    BTW, Tlsgwm, based on some past management decisions, I wish those aircrews luck.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Mark, I think the federal government position on transit is more nuanced than what we see from the CDC. The CDC is an agency that’s based in Atlanta, hardly a bastion of mass transit and their employees are probably reflective of that. FTA meanwhile has been shoveling money into local transit agencies, and many members of Congress (even some Republicans) are also still supportive of transit. I think FTA and congressional support (obviously along with local support) is going to be far more important than any CDC guidelines for transit’s viability.

      1. MARTA was during the era of 90% federal funding and federal support for mass transit. The outer counties opted out of MARTA and as a result had a coverage-level of transit for decades. That impacts all working-class people who live or work in those counties. Those conditions have even gotten into the national media. The Buford Highway is the most dangerous for pedestrians in the US, with crossings and bus stops a mile apart, and apartment buildings halfway in between, and hourly buses that end at 7pm. BART at least got Alameda and Contra Costa Counties in it so it serves Oakland, Berkeley, and the cities toward Fremont.

        Recently a suburban county opted in to MARTA, so that’s something, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the non-car mobility needs.

  6. Skylar and Al S., thanks for the “word to Chill” caution. I’m giving the people and forces I hate worst exactly what they most desperately want: diversionary attention from Russian-assisted money-laundering.

    Also, being a city boy most of my life, at heart I’ve never seen cars and transit as a zero-sum game. Because my mother considered a driving housewife to be an unpaid chauffeur, my learner’s permit put a family driver at the wheel of a 1954 Cadillac that should’ve had a hinge.

    Residence or visiting, lifetime pattern: live near the nearest transit line and let events take their course. Right now, soon as COVID croaks, my ORCA card could put Ash Way’s Kaffeehaus de Châtillon at the end of my driveway.

    Transit’s greatest ally? The number of cars themselves. To wit: The law of physics that says no two things can be in the same place at the same time. Sooner or later, Sprawl Crawls. To a stop someplace hot.

    Making transit’s first order of business the elimination of everything in its own operations that ticks people off. Could we work something with the schools where K-12 students take planners and politicians on field trips for field instruction? Plenty of time to think about it.

    Mark Dublin

  7. On Topic in reference to the constraints on any planning at all: Did anybody connected with transit get hurt, were any of our vehicles damaged, and is there anything I can do to help?

    Mark Dublin

    1. A King County Metro Transit vehicle was set on fire. Downtown Seattle is going to be in ruins for a while. Many stores/restaurants were destroyed and looted. I also believe many companies, questioning whether they should remain in downtown post COVID, may now be pushed away if violence continues.

    2. The TV showed what they said was a Metro vehicle but it wasn’t a bus. It was white and looked like a supervisor’s van.

  8. I did not vote for this but they won and have been taxing me for years with the promise that there will be service to Everett. #1. We still have to wait many more years for what they are offering us and it was promised. The situation by then might be different but using our money to build for everyone else (including extra serviced that were added) is grossly unfair if not illegal. #2. There is noservice to Everett which was promised, only a link south of Everett. Every one north of that point should get their money back. Hearing about how they might change it now and take even more away is frustrating. Many of us will have been taxed for years and not even live to see the results (if any still exist). Give us back our money, now.

    1. Snohomish County is certainly getting Link at least to Lynnwood. That’s already under construction. And, it’s not like people from farther north aren’t benefiting from it; they can still ride a bus to Lynnwood Station, or drive there.

      And, it will probably eventually get to Everett too, it just might take a few years longer than anticipated. You can’t blame Sound Transit for this, as they can’t spend money they don’t have. Any delays will be the fault of the coronavirus, with (depending on how the courts rule) some additional help from Tim Eyman.

      On the other hand, if we do as you suggest and just give up and give everybody their money back, then there’s no money left to even get to Lynnwood. Lynnwood to downtown is where the majority of the traffic is, along with the majority of the benefit. It really needs to be built.

  9. What we need to be doing here in regards to the Snohomish Subarea is reopening discussions about just a spur to Paine Field and using an I-5 alignment. Let’s recap what’s happened at Paine Field in the past few months:

    1) Boeing has laid off almost half of its workforce. “What is Boeing doing to help facilitate this?” should be a damn good question.

    2) On the museum front – one museum has moved to Spokane for understandable Pre-Covid19 reasons, another is at best in an indefinite pause and likely to close, another is winding down its restoration centre and the Boeing Factory Tour has a likely uncertain future during Covid19 which could play out for years not months. Although I sincerely acknowledge the past five to seven days have been tougher for others and especially people of color in both BC & WA ST and small business owners + nonprofits of all colors & missions; the past week events on this front has been very sad for me as years of happy memories near a likely end and yes transit advocacy ending up… flying away.

    3) On the terminal front – the Paine Field domestic-only terminal was capped at 20 flights pre-pandemic and the future of commercial flight out of there does not justify more delays of getting light rail and bus service to help those who need it. There already is a bus stop at the terminal and a SWIFT stop a quarter of a mile away.

    So basically Paine Field would be best served with a spur and then electric buses fanning out from the one or two stops on the spur. Also with the spur being 100% grade separated, no reason why not make the train automated. SkyTrain in Vancouver not just has automated trains but spurs – as is the case with Canada Line that serves YVR International Airport and a ride was documented on YouTube: .

    Should shave some time off of delivering light rail to the North. It’s a clear priority to us. You don’t see us demanding car tab cuts or clamoring for Sounder and very few of us like me demanding Sound Transit governance changes. We’re all on board for Light Rail to Everett.

  10. I concur with Joe, A 12 for Transit, on this one. Re-open the routing/concepts for ST-3 north!!!

    His solution may be more politically possible, mine is quicker and less expensive: simply extend the Swift Green line north to downtown Everett using SR 526 to Evergreen, then the four existing Swift Blue stations to downtown Everett, meaning no ROW acquisition time. This could probably be operational in a few months tops by activating currently-idle drivers and some minor signage changes for the stations north of 526.

    Extending Everett Transit’s #12 route to the 112th Park & Ride, which should already be part of that route (down to 16th & 132nd to connect to Swift Green), would connect it to ST Express today (510/11/12 and 532, and the 513 should be routed through this facility) and to I-5 light rail in the future for bi-directional service.

    I’d add to that plan to build Link to Mariner Park & Ride separately from the rest of the Everett line. It’s a three-station extension about the length of the Northgate extension, but without any tunnels, so it should be possible sooner. Open that segment and the connection to the Swift Green loop to downtown Everett is viable much sooner!!!

  11. Does this mean Everett link is a higher priority than green line (Ballard–>West Seattle Link)?

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