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Sound Transit's board OKs $24 million budget amendment to fund light-rail extension

Late last week, Sound Transit’s board approved an amendment to the agency’s 2012 budget to provide $24.3 million in additional funding for establishing a “shovel-ready” plan to extend light rail to a transit center in Federal Way, Wash.

The plan calls for the agency to begin a conceptual engineering study, environmental review process and record of decision on a route not only to South 272nd Street, which voters approved in the Sound Transit 2 ballot measure in 2008, but also to the Federal Way Transit Center, Sound Transit officials said in a prepared statement. A specific route and accurate cost estimates will help to support efforts to find financing for building the line south of the Kent/Des Moines area, they said.

An alternatives analysis will begin in summer with public workshops to take place in fall. A series of open houses will be held in summer 2013 as the agency moves forward with conceptual engineering and developing a draft environmental impact statement (EIS), agency officials said.

The schedule also calls for a final EIS review in 2015; board selection of the project scope and a record of decision from the Federal Transit Administration in 2016; and final design for the S. 200th and Kent/Des Moines to be completed and construction to begin by 2019.

“While significant revenue challenges remain, the amendment approved by the board … enables the agency to continue its important work to bring light rail to South Sound residents, with a vision for one day reaching Tacoma and Pierce County,” said Sound Transit Chairman Pat McCarthy.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/27/2012