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Sound Transit Board sends $54 billion light rail measure to the November ballot

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SEATTLE — The Sound Transit board voted Thursday to send a $54 billion light rail measure to the November ballot.

The plan, dubbed ST3, is aimed at speeding up the light rail extension project and focuses on bringing lines to Everett, Redmond, Issaquah, Tacoma, West Seattle and Ballard.

Originally, the work wouldn’t be completed for 25 years. But earlier this month, the Sound Transit Board approved changes that would speed up the process by a few years.

Voters will have the final say on the November ballot.

“The public sent us a clear message: We want light rail and other high-capacity mass transit, and we want it as soon as possible. That’s exactly what the Sound Transit Board approved today,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine. “We’ll continue to work with cities, communities and other partners to deliver rail and bus rapid transit even sooner.”

The final ST3 projects would build a total of 62 new miles of light rail with 37 new stations. The board’s action directs the projects to be the basis for the final documents the Board will consider on June 23.

Light rail to Everett via Paine Field would open five years earlier than proposed in the ST3 Draft Plan that was released for public review in March. Extensions to downtown Redmond and Federal Way would be completed four years sooner, while the Ballard, West Seattle and Tacoma extensions would open three years sooner. During the delivery of projects the agency will work with partners to further improve timelines where feasible.

Other changes include:

  • Seattle’s light rail extension to Ballard would be completely grade separated on 15th Avenue.
  • A new light rail line between Issaquah and Bellevue would extend further to reach south Kirkland.
  • New facilities in Kirkland and Renton would be added to the Bus Rapid Transit on I-405 between Lynnwood and Burien that is planned to be among the first-completed projects.
  • A new station at Northeast 130th Street in Seattle would move from provisional to fully funded status.
  • Expanded Sounder commuter rail capital investments in South King County and Pierce County would increase system capacity, enhance service, and extend the line to Tillicum and DuPont.

Find details of the changes at soundtransit3.org.

The plan’s total $54 billion in investments would be funded, in part, through new voter-approved sales, car tab and property taxes.

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