We’ve been reporting on the Sound Transit “realignment” process, which is still barreling down the tracks toward a potential board vote later this month. Board discussions have continued to include urban King County board members urging a delay in decisionmaking, as the financial picture keeps improving, and they contend the “affordability gap” may narrow further. In addition, one board member who’s led that call for months – King County Council chair Claudia Balducci of Bellevue – has been working on an alternative proposal which she has suggested would rely more on cost cuts than delays; the latter are the cornerstone of the realignment plan board chair Kent Keel of the University Place City Council has proposed. While his plan would only delay West Seattle light rail one year beyond the current 2031 projection, some parts of the ST plan would be pushed into the 2040s.
With all that as a backdrop, more than half a dozen advocacy groups held a media briefing today to “oppose any delay in delivery of voter-approved mass transit projects, to call on the Sound Transit board to instead adopt plans that keep the schedule promised to voters, and create a framework to fill budget gaps and accelerate projects.” The groups include the Sierra Club, Disability Rights Washington, 350 Seattle, Puget Sound Sage, Transportation Choices Coalition, Transit Riders Union, Seattle Subway, and local coalitions from around King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties.
We asked Robert Cruickshank of the Sierra Club what the coalition plans to do, and what it’s asking concerned community members to do: For one, Cruickshank says, “Sierra Club will be sending a message to our members in the Puget Sound area next week asking them to contact the Sound Transit board and urge them to reject any plans that would delay delivery of transit lines and instead work with state and federal partners to deliver projects on or ahead of schedule. And right now anyone can deliver that message directly to the Sound Transit board by sending them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org — an email sent to that address will get sent to all 18 board members.” The board’s Finance and Audit Committee will discuss realignment next Thursday, and the full board might vote July 22nd if there’s no decision to wait.