Sound Transit Board votes to send major light rail expansion plan to November ballot

Friday, June 24, 2016

Sound Transit Board meeting at Union Station Thursday
Photo by Keith McGlashan

The Sound Transit Board capped 3-1/2 years of discussion and public input on Thursday by unanimously voting to send voters a final Sound Transit 3 ballot measure for consideration in November. The plan's proposals include completion of a regional light rail network as the area's population grows an estimated 800,000 by 2040.

The ST3 plan would build a total of 62 miles of light rail with stations serving 37 additional areas. Improvements introduced following public comment on a draft plan in April would speed up most of the extensions by two to five years.

Light rail to Everett via Paine Field would open five years earlier than the draft plan released by the Board 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. The agency would work with partners to further improve timelines where feasible.

If approved by voters in November, ST3 would also build light rail between South Kirkland, Bellevue and Issaquah, while expediting the establishment of bus rapid transit service on I-405 from Lynnwood to Burien and on SR 522 (Bothell Way), with faster buses running every 10 minutes during peak commute hours.

The plan would expand the capacity of fast-growing Sounder commuter rail service linking Seattle, Tukwila, Kent, Auburn, Sumner, Puyallup, Tacoma and Lakewood, with extension of the line to reach Joint Base Lewis-McChord and DuPont. The Tacoma Link light rail line would extend from Hilltop to Tacoma Community College.

Among a number of other projects in the plan, early investments would include speeding up existing bus routes by enabling them to run on the shoulders of freeways where possible. Details of the plan are available at, including an interactive map.

The ST3 Plan's $53.8 billion in investments would be funded through new voter-approved sales, MVET and property taxes, with estimated additional $200 annual or $17 monthly costs for a typical adult in the Sound Transit District.


Anonymous,  June 24, 2016 at 4:40 PM  

Too costly, too long, and too old fashioned. Self-driving cars and buses will be here soon and this choo-choo train will be an expensive relic.
Check out this ST3 tax calculator: and think about the tax hike the city is angling to put on the ballot in addition.

Anonymous,  June 25, 2016 at 7:20 AM  

The City of Shoreline plans on having the property tax levy lift, as well as a future parks bond afterwards. The Shoreline Fire Department recently maxed out their property taxes and added a user fee. Best of all, the Shoreline School District is planning on a new bond measure to replace some of their schools. At some point the voters need to consider how high they want to raise their taxes.

Anonymous,  June 26, 2016 at 1:00 AM  

Good thing The Shoreline City Council voted to give developers 10-12 years of tax breaks so existing residents have to deal with the burden!

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