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9/28/2012 11:30:00 AM
Sound Transit addresses proposed 2013 budget, approves contract for Sea-Tac project
Yesterday, Sound Transit's board began work on its 2013 budget, which is projected to advance major light-rail expansions and address the impact of reduced tax revenue.
The proposed 2013 budget includes $754.7 million in capital investments to extend light-rail service to the north, east and south. A proposed $211.8 million budget for service delivery includes a 5.3 percent increase primarily to cover higher fuel costs and the cost to extend Sounder commuter-rail service to Lakewood and South Tacoma, Sound Transit officials said in a prepared statement.
The budget proposal does not include reductions or delays affecting services or capital projects, they said.
The 2013 budget will focus on four major themes: deliver capital projects on time and within budget; increase ridership; reduce capital and operating costs; and maintain nimble, efficient business processes, Sound Transit officials said.
Major Link light-rail investments for next year will include: nearly $198 million to continue construction of the extension from downtown Seattle to the University of Washington; $103.3 million for Northgate Link Extension's design and construction; $91.9 million for East Link final design; $87 million for design-build work to extend light rail from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac); and $55 million to fund the city's construction of the First Hill Streetcar connector.
Also in 2013, the board intends to continue the multi-year process launched in 2010 to realign expansion plans and revenue with the impact of the national recession. The region's economy hasn't rebounded as quickly in 2012 as predicted earlier, with revenue growing at just 2.2 percent compared with 2011, Sound Transit officials said. The 2012 forecast called for 3.4 percent growth.
As a result of the updated revenue forecast, agency staff has identified proposed cost reductions and will work to find additional efficiencies in the capital program for the board's review in October.
In other action yesterday, the board approved a contract with PCL Civil Constructors Inc. to design and build the elevated station and guideway for the light-rail extension from Sea-Tac Airport to South 200th Street.
Construction of the new station and 1.6-mile extension is slated to begin early next year, with service expected to begin in September 2016.