The Sound Transit Board of Directors unanimously approved an amendment to the agency’s 2012 budget today to provide approximately $24.3 million in additional funding for establishing a shovel-ready plan to extend light rail from S. 200th Street to Federal Way Transit Center.
The amendment, sponsored by Sound Transit Board Member Pete von Reichbauer and supported by Sen. Tracey Eide, allows Sound Transit to move forward with a conceptual engineering study, an environmental review process, and a record of decision on a route not only to S. 272nd Street, which voters approved in the Sound Transit 2 ballot measure in 2008, but all the way to the Federal Way Transit Center. Determining a specific route and more accurate cost estimates will support efforts to identify financing for light rail construction south of the Kent/Des Moines area, making Federal Way "shovel-ready."
“The work will take four to five years and add approximately $24.3 million dollars to what the Board already committed in the 2012 budget. This is the right kind of planning for us to be doing right now – Federal Way needs to be connected to the regional system, “ said von Reichbauer. “To me, the right thing to do is get this project defined and ready to go – so we can be able to take advantage of any opportunity to get this project funded and underway.”
“We look forward to working with the cities of Federal Way, Kent, Des Moines and SeaTac to advance our plan for extending light rail through the south corridor,” said McCarthy. “While significant revenue challenges remain, the amendment approved by the Board today enables the agency to continue its important work to bring light rail to South Sound residents, with a vision for one day reaching Tacoma and Pierce County. I would like to thank Pete for his leadership in forging the way, and Sen. Eide for coming forward in the spirit of true cooperation and creative problem-solving to support this proposal.”
On February 6th, 2012, Board Member von Reichbauer first introduced this amendment. He was joined by Sen. Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way, Sound Transit Board Chair and Pierce County Executive, Pat McCarthy, Board Member and King County Executive, Dow Constantine, and Board and King County Council Members, Julia Patterson and Joe McDermott, all of whom voiced support for this new plan to get Federal Way ready for light rail.
“Connecting South King County’s largest population and employment center to the regional light rail system is not only critical to local residents but to the entire region and state,” said von Reichbauer. “Sound Transit has never stopped working to find a way to get light rail to Federal Way. This amendment calls for acting on our commitment by moving forward immediately with the engineering and environmental review needed to get the project shovel-ready. While we develop a specific route and cost estimate we will work with any and all partners to meet the challenge of funding construction.”
“My priority continues to be finding a viable solution to meet Federal Way’s transportation needs. This proposal keeps us moving forward while we all work together to address the funding gap, and it assures the people of South King County that Sound Transit continues to be committed to delivering light rail as promised,” Senator Eide said.
Sound Transit will begin the extension planning this summer with an alternatives analysis. Public workshops are scheduled to take place fall of this year in Federal Way along with a series of open houses conducted in the summer of 2013 as Sound Transit moves forward with conceptual engineering and developing a draft EIS.
“Federal Way is a major transportation hub in South King County and thousands of residents use the Federal Way Transit Center for transportation needs. The $24 million budget amendment brings light rail one step closer to the people of South King County,” said von Reichbauer.