Voters approve historic Sound Transit 3 measure

Upcoming transit expansions include light rail to Everett, Tacoma,

With the adoption of Sound Transit 3, the people of the Central Puget Sound region have taken a historic action to continue building the true mass transit system that has been talked about for decades.

Work to move forward on the further expansions approved by voters started Thursday as the Sound Transit Board Capital Committee discussed next steps for two of the first projects, extending light rail to Federal Way and downtown Redmond.

“Our region has embraced a generational opportunity to move forward with a transit network to connect millions of people across three counties,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine. “After decades of waiting, we are ready to start building a light rail system that will grow our economy, improve our quality of life, and ensure access to jobs, education and all the Central Puget Sound has to offer.”

Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus, a Sound Transit Board Member, was pleased with ST3’s outcome.

“I want to thank the voters for putting their faith behind this momentous project. The approval of Sound Transit 3 is a historic step forward for our region that addresses a long standing need in our community,” Backus said. “Providing a rapid transit option that connects South Sound workers with job centers and families with regional services and business is critical in ensuring no one is left behind as our region grows and moves forward. I know that for many, 25 years may seem a like a lifetime, but I assure you that we will work quickly and efficiently to meet and exceed your expectations as we build a true regional transit system for our residents.”

By 2021, Sound Transit will complete light rail to Roosevelt and Northgate and in 2023 trains will reach Mercer Island, Bellevue, Overlake, Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood. From there, Sound Transit will keep building until the agency has completed a 116-mile regional system. Next up will be getting light rail to Federal Way, downtown Redmond, Tacoma, West Seattle, Ballard, Everett, South Kirkland and Issaquah.

The agency has a running start on the Federal Way and downtown Redmond projects.

• Light rail will reach Federal Way in 2024. Today, Sound Transit published the environmental impact statement that allows the agency to adopt the final route and move the project into design and construction.

• Sound Transit will also reach downtown Redmond in 2024. This month the board is set to approve the funding to move forward with a route that has already received federal approval.

Sound Transit Board and King County Council Member Pete von Reichbauer hailed ST3’s victory.

“With the passage of ST3, South King County residents will benefit through the extension of light rail to our South Sound region,” he said. “Our region depends on the ability to stay connected to jobs and services, as well as to develop a strong economic base as our communities continue to grow. ST3 will help relieve congestion as our citizens commute to work, shop or recreate.”

Sound Transit will also start working on platform extensions that enable longer Sounder south line trains to serve 40 percent more riders, and will work with BNSF on options for running more trains each day. The measure’s passage also extends Sounder to Tillicum and DuPont. After adding Sounder parking in Puyallup and Sumner Sound Transit will move on to also expand parking in Edmonds and Mukilteo.

Sound Transit will establish bus rapid transit along the north, east and south sides of Lake Washington, providing faster and more reliable service that runs every 10 minutes in peak hours supported with new parking and expanded stations.

Information on the Sound Transit 3 plan is available at soundtransit3.org.

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