Sound Transit Link Light Rail trainThe City Council has adopted a resolution providing our recommendations for issues to be considered in the Long Range Plan being developed by Sound Transit in preparation for a possible next ballot measure. The Sound Transit Board has approved a 2014 budget that continues our progress towards a great regional transit system. And the Board will give final approval at its December meeting to a revised policy for disposing of excess property that will help jump-start more Transit Oriented Development (TOD) in the future.

Resolution 31488, adopted unanimously by the Council on November 25, provided City recommendations on the first stage of the Long Range Plan process, the scope of the supplemental environmental impact statement. The scoping process identifies the issues to be considered, and provides the framework for developing the actual plan, which will come to the Sound Transit Board for consideration and adoption in the 2014-2015 time period.

Core recommendations from the City were to:

  • Formally acknowledge and use the City’s adopted Transit Master Plan as guidance for selecting candidate projects for the Long Range Plan, and consider partnerships with municipal systems as the plan is developed.
  • Consider a broad range of High Capacity Transit (HCT) options, including connector services.
  • Make Transit Oriented Development a centerpiece of planning, including opportunities for existing transit stations as well as new projects.
  • Expand the options for access to stations.
  • Build on the corridor planning studies currently underway to consider additional HCT corridors in Seattle, such as University District/Ballard, Ballard/Downtown, and Downtown/West Seattle/Burien.

The Sound Transit Board has adopted a 2014 budget of $1.099 billion, including more than $700 million in project delivery as construction projects continue to accelerate. Along with continuing the operation of the current system and projects to improve the bus and Sounder systems, in 2014 Sound Transit will:

Prepare the Final EIS and preliminary engineering for Lynnwood Link Extension, the Draft EIS for Federal Way Link Extension, the initial environmental review for Tacoma Link Expansion, and key environmental activities for the new Operations and Maintenance Facility.

  • Complete work and begin service for the First Hill Streetcar.
  • Complete major work at the UW and Capitol Hill stations for University Link.
  • Begin tunneling and other work for Northgate Link Extension.
  • Continue work on construction of the South 200th Link Extension.
  • Obtain permits, acquire right-of-way, and execute contracts for East Link.

Finally, as Sound Transit continues to work on integrating TOD into its transit work, the Board will adopt a new Real Property Excess and Disposition Policy to make it clear that TOD is a priority and that staff is directed to consider it in property disposition. This new policy provides policy direction and guidelines on how to accelerate and process the disposition of excess property in ways that are consonant with local planning, economic development, housing, and other TOD objectives.

Sound Transit continues to be a well-respected and competent agency that is delivering on the promise of a truly integrated transit system for Seattle and the region. I am proud of what I have been able to contribute as a Board member for the last six years, and I believe that Sound Transit is well positioned to continue its success in future years.