The Sound Transit Board won’t vote before next month on a potential “realignment” scenario – reconfiguring future plans to address estimated revenue drops and cost jumps. Today, calling it a “starting point,” board chair Kent Keel (from the University Place City Council in Pierce County) unveiled a proposed scenario. As shown above in a slide from the meeting presentation (see the full deck here), his proposal would delay West Seattle light rail until 2032 – one year later than the currently planned 2031, which in turn is one year past what was outlined in the ST3 ballot measure. Board members didn’t spend much time talking about it; some have contended that it’s too soon to realign, since revenue estimates keep improving, and in fact CEO Peter Rogoff started the meeting with a quick mention of rosier revenue projections at multiple government levels. One board member, King County Council chair Claudia Balducci from Bellevue, has been the loudest voice arguing against realigning now; she has contended that changes should focus more on cost cuts than schedule delays. She said today that her own proposal isn’t ready to present yet but will be soon. In a parallel process, the board is still working through the reasons for the sudden, dramatic rise in cost estimates, and got another in a series of reports from a consultant during today’s meeting. Board members’ next realignment discussion is expected when their Executive Committee meets July 1st; the full board meeting at which a vote might be taken is July 22nd.
West Seattle, Washington