Running light rail along Interstate 5 or Evergreen Way through Everett is back on the table.
As approved by voters in 2016, the ST3 measure provided system extension development north of Lynnwood. At the time, the expansion of light rail east, north, south and west, the increase in Sounder service and the development of bus rapid transit, were estimated cost $53.8 billion and reach Everett by 2036.
Another one 6 billion dollars are needed now after updated projections, and light rail may not reach north of Everett until 2041.
The agency is in the early stages of studying station and track locations, known as alternatives. Service on the 16-mile, six-station extension is estimated to reach the area near Boeing and Paine Field by 2037 and the Everett station by 2041. A projected funding shortfall of $600 million is the cause of the opening date discrepancy.
The route presented on the ballot, called the Representative Alignment, generally followed I-5 with a “spur” to the Boeing area and Paine Field via Airport Road. Then he ran east along Casino Road or Highway 526 and into northern Everett.
That remains the primary option at least among elected leaders, who in April pruned nine potential station options, four sites for the operations and maintenance facility and two alignments.
But after public comment from Winter and the agency’s board looking for ways to cut costs, Sound Transit announced additional track alignment options Last week.
One follows I-5 north from the station near 128th Street SW with a shorter spur to the Everett Mall, then back to the freeway.
The other heads west from 128th to Airport Road and Highway 99, then heads north along Evergreen Way before turning east again to the highway.
“We have reviewed all of the early scoping feedback, listened to that feedback, considered the direction of the Sound Transit Board to seek cost savings, and are now investigating these two new alternatives in Tier 2 analysis,” said one. e-mail notification from Sound Transit.
Sound Transit’s elected Snohomish County leaders lobbied for the line to reach the Boeing area, called the Southwest Everett Industrial Center station. It could serve the area dotted with aerospace companies as well as Paine Field airport.
But this adds cost and travel time. In 2015, staff estimated it was almost $2 billion more than sticking with I-5 and added 13 minutes.
Snohomish County elected officials continued to support the spur to serve the main center of employment and because of the commercial and residential building potential of the areas it would reach.
“We recognize that the station and alignment areas are incredible opportunities for us in the county to locate growth,” Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers, a member of the Sound Transit Board of Directors, said during the meeting. a meeting of the elected leadership group in April.
Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin, who sits on the board of directors of Sound Transit, has touted the need for light rail to reach this area because it has at least 30,000 workers. Specifically, as a member of Everett Link’s elected leadership group, she noted the closeness Westmont neighborhood being the most diverse in the city when supporting the closest station alternative to Highway 526.
The other alternative would follow 128th Street SW west to Hwy 99 at Airport Road, then north to Casino Road. When the money becomes available, Sound Transit may build a station at the Airport Road intersection.
From there to Casino Road it is about 3 miles.
Light rail could handle it problems observed in the south Seattle, where most of it is at pedestrian and vehicular level. Unless the agency pursues more expensive choice like the elevated station and track at Northgate Station or the subway like those in downtown Seattle.
Four options, up from six earlier this year, for the North Operations and Maintenance Facility are being evaluated. The facility will house 150 light rail cars and approximately 450 full-time employees. He needs 60-70 acres.
Early public submissions were more supportive of the Airport Road and 94th Street SW and Airport Road and 100th Street SW sites.
Sound Transit staff are analyzing the technical aspects of the alternatives and may report this information later this year. Then, public comments would be sought on the options to be proposed for the environmental review.
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