Executive Somers Urges Contacting Sound Transit Board Members Ahead Of Realignment Vote

August 4, 2021


The Everett extension may be done in phases pushing back service to Everett station years beyond what voters approved.

Tomorrow (August 5th) Sound Transit Board will consider the following action in what they call “realignment” that could push light rail to Everett back even further.
. Business Items
• Realignment presentation
A. Resolution No. R2021-05: Establishing a flexible framework to implement the ST2 and ST3 plans that (1) allows project work to proceed right away within the confines of an affordable financial plan; (2) creates opportunities for improved program schedules through project cost reviews, scope changes, additional revenue, and improved
economics; and (3) adds an annual Board program review of updated revenue and costs projects to allow the Board to revisit the realigned capital plan assumptions based on shifts in financial capacity and opportunities to advance projects.

Here is the link to view all of the meeting materials, watch the meeting and make public comments.

Today Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers and Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier issued the following statement.

On Thursday, August 5, the Sound Transit Board will decide whether Sound Transit 3 (ST3) will be built as the regional mass transit system voters approved or become yet another victim to local interests.

Since the founding of Sound Transit in 1993, we have all supported the idea that the Central Puget Sound region needs a multi-modal mass transit system to move people between our population and job centers. The light rail spine—linking Everett and Tacoma to Seattle—was the best and quickest way to relieve congestion on our I-5 corridor. The Link to Bellevue provided similar benefits for our I-90/I-405/520 freeways. However, the vision of completing the regional spine is again threatened by those who want to provide expensive add-ons that were never approved by the regions’ voters.

Snohomish and Pierce County’s Sound Transit Board Members have jointly proposed an amendment to ensure all projects approved by the voters in the Sound Transit 3 measure will be built as approved and in the order the plan has detailed. We must complete the spine to Everett and Tacoma, since that has been the top priority of the entire system since day one. The Snohomish and Pierce County amendment #5 will ensure that Link Light Rail to Tacoma and Everett are built and are not once again pushed off the table by over-spending in other parts of the system.

By sticking to the voter approved ST3 projects, this amendment wouldn’t prevent another area of the region from securing state or federal funding for elements that were not in the ST3 package (e.g. tunnels, additional stations, parking garages, etc.). The amendment will protect funding needed to build out the spine from Tacoma to Everett, while allowing counties, cities or others to raise money for any extra additions. We intend to be very vocal advocates for state and federal funding to speed up the delivery of our sections of the Sound Transit Link Light Rail system.

We ask residents who want a truly regional, equitable and environmentally sustainable mass transit system to support Snohomish and Pierce Counties’ amendment #5 and contact their Sound Transit Board Members to urge them to vote for it. We want to work with the members of the Sound Transit Board to ensure our region’s voices are working together to complete this historic project.

Our ability to maintain economic growth and preserve our quality of life depends on our region making good on the 28-year promise to complete the spine, finally linking the major jobs and population centers of Central Puget Sound. It’s what our residents want, and our region needs.

Proposed amendment #5

Amend Section 5 of Resolution No. R2021-05 as follows: Section 5: Schedule assessments based on available agency projected financial capacity and subarea affordability as well as project readiness will occur during project development to determine if projects can continue to progress on the Initial Target Schedule or if the Affordable Schedule is needed. If the affordability gap is partially reduced, staff will assess whether a completion date between the Initial Target and Affordable Schedules is affordable and achievable. These schedule assessments will occur before the following milestones: • the start of preliminary engineering (which for large projects occurs after the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and preferred alternative update); and • the project to be built decision (which occurs after environmental review is complete); and • project baselining (which occurs before construction) The funding likely to be available will inform preliminary engineering design, including contract packaging and phasing options. At the project to be built milestone, a full funding plan must be in place to determine a timeline for final design, rights-of-way (ROW) acquisition, and planned construction that will not impact the ability to deliver other system expansion projects on the Affordable Schedule. At project baselining, all funding must be secured before a project enters full construction. The Board will not authorize final design, ROW, or construction expenditures on any individual project which would cause delay to the Affordable Schedule for other projects unless the project’s funding gap has been offset. And, amend Section 6 of Resolution No. R2021-06 as follows: Section 6: The chief executive officer is further directed to prepare a 2021 TIP and financial plan. The new TIP will replace the five-year delay assumed in the 2020 TIP. Project development and environmental reviews will be adequately funded so as to ensure the opportunity to deliver projects based on the Initial Target Schedule without impacting the Affordable Schedule. The Schedule assessments described in Section 5 will determine inform the schedules for final design, ROW acquisition, and construction.

Here is a link to contact information to all of the Sound Transit Board Members.

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