Will light rail for West Seattle be written into Sound Transit‘s forthcoming long-range-plan update? Two West Seattle-residing elected officials said at a ST board meeting today that they will support amending the plan to call for “high-capacity transit service” for WS in that update: County Executive Dow Constantine (who chairs the board) and County Councilmember Joe McDermott (who’s a board member). Here’s the news release:
King County Executive and Sound Transit Board Chair Dow Constantine and King County Council and Sound Transit Board member Joe McDermott today moved to add future high-capacity transit service to West Seattle and Burien to the Long-Range Plan now being prepared for Sound Transit.
“The corridor between downtown Seattle, West Seattle and Burien is one of the greatest opportunities for extending mass transit service,” said Constantine. “This amendment is the first step towards funding the extension through a future public vote.”
“Survey results back up what I am hearing from my constituents and my community – strong support exists for light rail expansion to West Seattle,” said Councilmember Joe McDermott, who represents West Seattle. “A Downtown to West Seattle to Burien route will be well-used and leverage limited transit dollars in economic hubs.”
Sound Transit Board members today discussed the Long-Range Plan (LRP) at a workshop in preparation to update the plan in December. Proposed amendments will be discussed at the Board’s November and December meetings.
Following the collapse of the Seattle Monorail Project in 2005, the Sound Transit Board included funding to study a future connection between downtown Seattle, West Seattle and Burien in the Sound Transit 2 ballot measure that voters adopted in 2008. The study, completed earlier this year, shows very strong ridership potential in the corridor.
The LRP, last updated in 2005, serves as the vision for where high-capacity transit investments including light rail and bus rapid transit should go as the region’s population grows an estimated 30 percent by 2040. The plan identifies the projects that are eligible to be included in future ballot measures for construction after the completion of current voter-approved projects, including more than 30 miles of light rail extensions that Sound Transit is on target to open by 2023.
Next month Sound Transit is scheduled to position the Board to update the LRP by publishing a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, shaped by analysis of transit expansion options and more than 12,000 public comments that Sound Transit received in June and July. More information on the LRP is available at www.soundtransit.org/longrangeplan.
In updating the LRP the Board is set to confirm its plans to begin work in January to shape a ballot measure for consideration in November 2016 or thereafter. Next month the Board is scheduled to discuss the additional authority for local revenue sources that need to be approved by the Washington State Legislature.
Before publishing this, we followed up for some clarification. Constantine’s transportation adviser Chris Arkills explains that today’s announcement is a precursor to formal action in December: “(Constantine) kicked off the board meeting discussion on potential amendments to the long range plan by announcing that he and CM McDermott will be offering an amendment to add WS to the (plan). Only corridors in the LRP are eligible for possible inclusion in any ST3 (ballot measure) package. So this is an important step.”