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Sound Transit and the city of Bellevue, Wash., yesterday announced an agreement that would help advance the East Link Extension project to connect Seattle's eastern suburbs to the city's downtown.The agreement would cut Bellevue's contribution for a downtown tunnel by $60 million, Sound Transit officials said in a press release.Previously, a 2011 memorandum of understanding had outlined up to $160 million in Bellevue's contributions to the tunnel, but the new agreement caps the city's contributions at $100 million."With this unprecedented partnership, we will reduce Bellevue's share of the tunnel's cost, while helping to deliver East Link on schedule and promoting transit-oriented development throughout the Bel-Red Corridor," said Sound Transit Chairman Dow Constantine. "The people of Bellevue and of the entire region will enjoy the benefits of greater mobility for generations to come."The proposal also addresses plans to construct an operations and maintenance satellite facility along the corridor, as well as its impact on transit-oriented development in Bellevue. The agreement still requires approval from Sound Transit's board as well as the Bellevue City Council. Bellevue will hold a public hearing on April 13, and the Sound Transit board will meet April 23 to consider the agreement.The East Link project could carry about 50,000 riders each weekday along the I-90 corridor. The project would create 14 miles of light-rail track and 10 stations. Agency officials estimate the service would provide a 50-minute ride from south Bellevue to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
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