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RAIL EMPLOYMENT & NOTICES



Rail News Home Passenger Rail

6/17/2002



Rail News: Passenger Rail

Seattle's Central Link inches closer to fruition


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Sound Transit recently took yet another step toward building its Central Link light rail initial segment by authorizing Executive Director Joni Earl to apply to Federal Transit Administration for the $500 million Full Funding Grant Agreement.



In March, FTA designated Central Link as "recommended" in its Annual Report on New Starts. The board’s recent action officially notifies the public and federal funding partners that the project has cleared federal prerequisites for its grant application and that the formal grant process is under way.



The board also approved an agreement with King County and Seattle defining terms and conditions for joint operation of the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel. During joint operations, Sound Transit would pay 40 percent of the debt service and operations and maintenance cost, which the agency believes would cover the fair share of time the tunnel will be used by its trains and buses. King County would pay the remaining costs.



As more trains and fewer buses use the tunnel, Sound Transit would increase its payments. By 2016 (or when light rail reaches Northgate, whichever comes first), Sound Transit would cover all the costs.



The city and county are scheduled to vote on the measure later this month. The three parties also plan to continue negotiations regarding who will operate the light rail trains when they begin service, likely in 2009.



Meanwhile, the board also approved an agreement with the City of Seattle for a grant of non-exclusive use of a light-rail transit way for Central Link. The agreement defines terms and conditions for light-rail use of Seattle’s right of way, and includes construction activity, permits and the operation, maintenance and repair in streets and rights of way.


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