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Sound Transit Light Rail Stations Could Be Built Sooner Under Revised Plan

Thanks to an increase of $4B, there's now room to add more stations and speed up the construction process

Sound Transit unveiled their grand plan for ST3, the future of light rail in Puget Sound, back in March. Since then there's been a lot of discussion surrounding the timelines and who gets what first. Timelines like 2033 for West Seattle and 2038 for Ballard might have been better than nothing, they still felt eons away.

Thanks to some new "financial assumptions," Sound Transit has already bumped up some of their long-range deadlines.

Light-rail extensions would be built faster than originally proposed, with Everett getting service in 2036, five years sooner than Sound Transit had announced, and Federal Way and Redmond coming online as soon as 2024, under a revised plan released Thursday.

Other shortened timelines include Ballard light rail in 2035, three years sooner than in the March draft plan; West Seattle in 2030, three years sooner; Federal Way to the Tacoma Dome in 2030, three years quicker; and stations for South Graham Street in Rainier Valley, and Boeing Access Road in Tukwila, by 2031, five years sooner.

That might seem like a bit of lip service given that most of those deadlines are still decades off but, c'mon, work with Sound Transit here. You don't just throw a light rail line and station up overnight.

The change will also mean that the overall cost on November's ballot measure would rise from $50 billion to $54 billion, though the tax rate will remain unchanged. The extra money is expected to come in the form of bonds.

Some of the other noted updates and changes include a desire to build elevated tracks along 15th Avenue West in Ballard, which would require an extra $150M, a new Renton station at Northeast 44th Street with 200 parking spaces, and the addition of a North 130th Street light-rail station which Seattle city councilemember Debora Juarez had fought for.

The final version of the plan that goes before voters will be put to a Sound Transit board vote on June 23.
· Light-rail stations could open years earlier under new Sound Transit plan [ST]
· Sound Transit 3 Plan Calls For Second Downtown Seattle Tunnel, 108 Miles of Light Rail [CS]
· Everyone Wants to Change Seattle's ST3 Light Rail Plans (& They're Not Even Approved Yet) [CS] ·