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Sound Transit's board yesterday approved a $1.2 billion budget for 2016 that will provide $802.9 million for light-rail and other system expansions.Next year promises to be a big one for the Seattle transit agency, which is scheduled to open light-rail extensions to Capitol Hill, the University of Washington and Angle Lake, and complete a major tunneling project between Northgate and UW. Project funding in the 2016 budget includes $203 million for the East Link final design and start of tunneling and construction; $165 million for the Northgate Link construction; $70 million to complete preliminary engineering and begin final deisgn for the Lynnwood Link; $40 million to complete station construction, systems installation and testing for the University Link opening in 2016; and $23 million to complete elevated station and guideway and parking garage for the South 200th Link opening, also in 2016.Also next year, the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure in November will ask voters to allow further light-rail extensions to Everett, Tacoma, downtown Redmond, Ballard and West Seattle, Sound Transit Chairman Dow Constantine said in a prepared statement.The board expects to release for public review a draft package of projects that would be funded if the ballot measure passes. The agency posted information on candidate projects being considered at soundtransit3.org.Another Sound Transit milestone in 2016: The agency will welcome a new president and chief executive officer in January. Former Federal Transit Administration chief Peter Rogoff will succeed CEO Joni Earl, who plans to retire. Most recently, Rogoff has served as the U.S. Department of Transportation's undersecretary.
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