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Sound Transit eyes major light-rail expansions in ballot measure proposal


Sound Transit's board late last week released a draft of the Sound Transit 3 (ST3) ballot measure, which would add 58 miles of light-rail to the agency's existing system.

The draft details a total of $50 billion in transportation investments that would be funded through new voter-approved sales, motor vehicle excise and property taxes, Sound Transit officials said in a press release. The improvements would be implemented over the next 25 years.

The proposal calls for new light-rail connections from Bellevue/Overlake to downtown Redmond, Wash., and from Bellevue to Issaquah. Additionally, the agency would add new light-rail service to the growing urban neighborhoods of Ballard and West Seattle.

The ST3 draft also calls for extending the Sounder commuter-rail system south to DuPont, Wash., along with increasing train capacity, enhancing service and improving rider access to stations.

Today, the agency begins a public comment period that will last through April 29. As part of the process, Sound Transit will hold a series of public meetings around the Puget Sound region and gather feedback through an online survey.

"Sound Transit 3 delivers on the promise of a truly regional mass transit system for generations to come," said Sound Transit Board Chairman Dow Constantine. "The public input we receive will help us shape the best final plan that will be on the November ballot."

Meanwhile, the agency yesterday held an informational open house on preliminary designs for construction of a new Sounder railroad operations and maintenance facility in Lakewood, Wash.

The proposed 40,000-square-foot, single-story storage facility on the existing Sounder Rail Yard site would contain maintenance bays, material storage areas, offices and facilities for maintenance crews. Supporting facilities such as roadway, site lighting, drainage facilities and required utility infrastructure also are included in the project.

Voters approved the Sounder Yard and Shop project in the 2008 Sound Transit 2 ballot initiative.


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