Two Trains a Day Between Everett and Bellingham More Likely than Light Rail to Everett

Would you ride this from Everett to Bellingham?

I attended the presentation by Snohomish County and the Cascadia Center yesterday regarding the future of rail in Snohomish County. There were some interesting discussions and I walked away with these impressions regarding the future of rail and mass transportation as it applies to Everett:

Don’t hold your breath for Light Rail to come to Everett…

While Sound Transit thinks they can bring Light Rail to Lynnwood by 2023, the future for light rail to make it to Everett is very bleak. Joni Earl, head of Sound Transit told me that there would have to be a third Sound Transit Ballot measure. (the first was approved by voters in 1996, the second passed in 2008) Looks like light rail will be up to the grandkids to figure out.

Plans are in the works for train service between Bellingham and Everett…

There is something called the North Sound Coalition for high-speed rail funds that is working with Cascadia Center to enhance rail service between cities in the North Sound. One proposal calls for two trains each weekday that would leave Bellingham each morning for Everett station where people could then take Sounder to Seattle. There would then be two reverse trips between Everett and Bellingham in the late afternoon-early evening.

Everett Multi-Modal Station to add 650 – 800 stall parking garage and mixed use developments…

Look for a change in the neighborhood in the area between Everett Station and Comcast Arena. Right now the area provides access to trains and transit but the City of Everett would like to see it switch to more of a transit oriented neighborhood with fewer cars, taller buildings and more work-living spaces where people locally wouldn’t need a car but could walk, bike,  take busses and trains to where they need to go and those from outer areas could get off I-5, park in the garage and take mass transit north, south or east.

The biggest issue is money. (like that’s a surprise)…

Most mass transit funding lately has come from sales taxes. That has made forecasting operating revenues more of a guessing game and far less predictable than the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax which was eliminated as a funding source by voters. When the recession hit and spending fell, funding for mass transit went right with it. That’s one reason we’re seeing 20 percent cuts in Community Transit service next year. Until a more reliable form of funding can be found for mass transit including busses, rail, light rail and whatever new forms may be found, there won’t be much progress. Most of the morning’s speakers said its time for a new way of thinking on funding.
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