What's Proposed
Proposed 15-year ST2 plan

Updated August 13, 2008---Plans as amended by ST Board on July 24

Previous expansion details
Mass Transit Expansion Proposal
Updated August 8, 2008

On November 4, 2008, residents will decide whether to expand mass transit in the Central Puget Sound region. The Mass Transit Expansion Proposal responds to immediate demand for more regional transit service by delivering a 17 percent increase in express bus service in 2009. It achieves a 55-mile regional light rail system, five years sooner than earlier proposed. The plan responds to the more than 15,000 public comments Sound Transit received this year and gets ready for the region’s projected population increase of 1.2 million by 2030.

Updated August 13, 2008---Plans as amended by ST Board on July 24

Link light rail
Adds 36 miles of light rail to the Link system that opens for service between downtown Seattle and the airport in 2009 and to the University of Washington in 2016:
  • North from the University of Washington to Northgate, Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood
  • East from downtown Seattle across Interstate 90 to Mercer Island, Bellevue, Overlake Hospital and Redmond’s Overlake Transit Center
  • South from Sea-Tac Airport to Highline Community College and Federal Way at Redondo/Star Lake
  • Streetcar connector serving Seattle’s International District, First Hill and Capitol Hill.

Expands light rail with a partnership to extend Tacoma Link beyond the downtown area.

Sounder commuter rail

Increases Tacoma-Seattle Sounder commuter rail service by adding four new daily round trips and by increasing platform lengths to accommodate longer trains. This increases passenger capacity by 65 percent to meet strong rider demand in the corridor, providing reliable and congestion-free travel as population growth continues to worsen roadway congestion. Builds permanent stations in Edmonds and Tukwila to replace temporary facilities. Includes two provisional rail stations at Broad Street and Ballard in Seattle that can be implemented subject to the availability of additional funds.

ST Express regional buses
Expands regional express bus routes serving the region’s largest housing and job centers; more buses will be in service quickly to provide near-term relief while capital projects are under construction. ST Express buses operate on existing freeway HOV lanes. The plan boosts service with:
  • Rapid delivery of expanded ST Express service, with funding for an increase of 17 percent in 2009 to provide 100,000 additional hours of service
  • Service increases of up to 30 percent on the busiest routes
  • Expands Sound Transit’s bus fleet by 25 percent
  • New Bus Rapid Transit service on SR 520.

Link light rail features
In addition to extending the Central Link light rail line, the Mass Transit Expansion Proposal supports moving forward rapidly with further extensions to Tacoma and Redmond in a future phase by funding environmental review, preliminary engineering and early right-of-way purchases where possible. The package also includes planning for a future extension to Everett.

Fast, frequent service
Environmentally friendly electric light rail trains operate in their own right-of-way, providing fast, reliable service that isn’t delayed by congestion. Trains will run 20 hours per day and every few minutes during rush hours.

Ample room to grow
System capacity can be expanded to meet long-term needs from continued population growth by running trains as often as every four minutes with up to four cars, each train carrying up to 800 riders, for an hourly capacity of up to 12,000 riders in each direction. Stations will act as hubs where riders transfer from buses onto congestion-free light rail service. Per passenger, light rail systems are on average 37 percent less expensive to operate than buses.

Sample light rail travel times
Microsoft to downtown Bellevue: 11 min.
Northgate to downtown Seattle: 15 min.
Bellevue to Qwest Field: 20 min.
Lynnwood to UW: 21 min.
Lynnwood to downtown Seattle: 28 min.
Highline C.C. to Safeco Field: 37 min.

Improved station access
Provides funds that will allow more people to access regional transit services at key locations. Access improvements in Auburn, Edmonds, Kent, Lakewood, Mukilteo, Puyallup, South Tacoma, Sumner, Tacoma and Tukwila will be tailored to the needs of each location and may include:
  • Expanded parking
  • Pedestrian improvements at or near stations
  • Additional bus/transfer facilities for improved feeder service to stations
  • Bicycle access and storage at stations
  • New and expanded drop-off areas to encourage ridesharing

Eastside rail passenger partnership
Provides funds for a potential capital contribution to a partnership for Eastside passenger rail operation on existing railroad right-of-way. Sound Transit and the Puget Sound Regional Council are currently evaluating the potential benefits of passenger rail operation on this corridor.

Partnership projects to improve mobility
The Mass Transit Expansion Proposal contributes funds to complete projects in conjunction with other parties that will improve access to transit and travel times:
  • Tacoma Link extension
  • Bothell transit center/parking garage
  • Burien parking garage

Responding to regional growth
Continued growth in the region’s population and employment puts increasing pressure on our transportation system. The plan responds with targeted investments that provide new and expanded transit options to improve near-term and future mobility for people who live and work here. In 2030, 70 percent of the residents and 85 percent of the jobs in the Sound Transit District will be within easy access to light rail or commuter rail, either on foot, by bike or a single bus ride.

Estimated growth by 2030
  Population Employment
Bellevue +24% +39%
Burien/Tukwila/Renton +16% +34%
Capitol Hill/Queen Anne +20% +23%
Downtown Seattle +79% +24%
Everett +25% +38%
Federal Way/Auburn +17% +33%
Kent +35% +30%
Lynnwood/Edmonds +34% +50%
North Seattle +13% +29%
Redmond/Kirkland +26% +40%
South Seattle +7% +29%
Tacoma +18% +28%
[Puget Sound Regional Council data]

Protecting our environment
With transportation the region’s largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, one of the most important things people can do to reduce their carbon footprints is to use public transit. This package would bring about 147,000 more daily boardings to regional transit services in 2030, increasing ridership by more than 20% over what it would be without transit system expansion. It would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 99,550 metric tons of CO2 equivalents per year.

This plan takes thousands more cars off roads, with expanded train and bus services moving people through the region’s most congested corridors.

2030 Estimated Daily Ridership
Service Without Plan With Plan
Link light rail 124,000 286,000
ST Express buses 52,000 48,000
Sounder commuter rail 19,000 24,000
Total 195,000 358,000
Figures reflect near-term demand. Actual long-term system capacity will be much higher. Figures are preliminary and subject to refinement.

Planning for the future
Funds several studies of future expansions: light rail from Lynnwood to Everett, UW to Ballard, Ballard to downtown Seattle, West Seattle and Burien, and Burien to Renton, South Bellevue to Issaquah via I-90, UW across SR 520 to Kirkland and Redmond; and future bus rapid transit services on the I-405 corridor.

Paying for expanded services
  • 5/10 of one percent sales tax increase, or five cents for every $10 retail purchase
  • Typical new cost per adult is $69 annually
  • Continuation of existing Sound Move taxes (0.4% sales tax and 0.3% vehicle license tax)

$17.8 billion* in year-of-expenditure (YOE) dollars for 2009-2023, including capital costs, operations and maintenance costs, reserves and debt service.
*Includes estimates of inflation.