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Sound Transit's board yesterday identified a site in Bellevue's Bel-Red corridor between Bellevue and Redmond as the preferred alternative for a new Link light-rail operations and maintenance facility.The new facility is needed to store, service and deploy the expanding light-rail train fleet as the system expands from 16 to 50 miles by 2023, Sound Transit officials said in a press release.The existing light-rail fleet will triple in size from 62 to 180 vehicles as Sound Transit opens more than 30 new stations and carries more than 280,000 riders a day by 2030. The existing operations and maintenance facility in Seattle has capacity to store and maintain 104 light rail vehicles. As Sound Transit buys additional vehicles in advance of opening voter-approved rail lines to the north, east and south, the existing facility will reach full capacity by 2020, they said.The preferred alternative is west of 120th Avenue NE adjacent to existing railroad tracks on land that Sound Transit owns a portion of. The final decision on the site location and the general size and scope of the facility will be determined after the project's Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) is completed, agency officials said. Sound Transit staff will begin working on the FEIS this summer and move forward with preliminary engineering and design work on the preferred alternative, they added.The FEIS is expected to be completed in mid-2015, with the final site selected in fall 2015.
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