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Sound Transit's board yesterday approved a $1.2 billion 2015 budget that continues major light-rail expansions and prepares for a future Sound Transit 3 ballot measure.The budget anticipates Sound Transit will transport more than 32 million riders next year, according to an agency press release."Sound Transit is poised to see record ridership growth in 2015, while staying on track for the early, under-budget completion of light rail to the University of Washington and rollout of the next rail expansion plan," said Sound Transit Chair Dow Constantine.The budgets' light-rail project funding includes $208 million for Northgate Link construction; $143 million for East Link pre-construction; $121 million to complete station construction, systems installation and testing for the University Link project opening in early 2016; and $16.3 million for Lynwood Link as the project finishes preliminary engineering and moves into final design.Additionally, the budget includes $19.7 million to replace 22 ST Express buses and overhaul seven Sounder locomotives.Agency officials will launch an effort to prepare a ballot measure that would call for voter support for the further expansion of regional mass transit services. They plan to work with the Washington State Legislature to secure additional local funding authority necessary to advance a ballot measure for voters to consider in November 2016. Also during 2015, Sound Transit plans to solicit public input to help shape the proposal.
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