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12/26/2012



Rail News: Passenger Rail

Sound Transit's 2013 budget focuses on ridership growth, light-rail expansions


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Sound Transit's board has approved a $1.1 billion budget for 2013 that will advance light-rail expansions and position the regional transit system to  serve more than 28 million riders next year.

The budget addresses four major themes for the year: to 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 in a prepared statement.

Next year will be "another year of progress" said Chairman Pat McCarthy.

"The double-digit increase in ridership we have seen on our trains and buses proves the importance of the work we have under way to extend light rail to the north, south and east," he said.

In 2013, Sound Transit plans to break ground on an expedited extension of light rail south from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to South 200th Street. The extension, to be completed under a design-build contract, is slated to open in 2016. About $86.7 million worth of work will be completed toward that project in 2013.

Other major capital investments planned for next year include $166 million to continue construction of the light-rail extension from downtown Seattle to the University of Washington; $83.8 million for the Northgate Link Extension design and construction; $91.9 million for East Link final design; $72 million for design-build work to extend light-rail from the airport to South 200th St; $8.1 million for ongoing environmental review of a potential route south from South 200th Street to Highline, Kent/Des Moines and Federal Way; and $55 million to fund Seattle's ongoing construction of the First Hill Streetcar connector.

The budget also includes $9.7 million to begin the next phase of capacity transit planning.


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