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
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Microsoft to downtown Bellevue:
|Northgate to downtown Seattle:
|Bellevue to Qwest Field:
|Lynnwood to UW:
|Lynnwood to downtown Seattle:
|Highline C.C. to Safeco Field:
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
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.
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
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.
|Capitol Hill/Queen Anne
[Puget Sound Regional Council data]
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.
|Link light rail
|ST Express buses
|Sounder commuter rail
Figures reflect near-term demand. Actual long-term system capacity will be much higher. Figures are preliminary and subject to refinement.
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.
- 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.