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Sound Transit adopts 2011 budget, eyes expansion


Sound Transit’s board has adopted a 2011 budget that supports ongoing major projects and voter-approved, long-term rail expansions — despite the transit system’s projected drop in revenue. The budget projects revenue of $844.3 million and expenditures of $1.1 billion in 2011.

The agency expects to generate revenue of $3.9 billion through 2023, or 25 percent lower than forecasted in 2008 when voters approved the Sound Transit 2 (ST2) plan, said Sound Transit officials in a prepared statement.

The ST2 light-rail expansion plan included 36 miles of light rail expansions north to Lynwood, East to Mercer Island, Bellevue and Overlake, and south to Federal Way, with the last of the expansions running by 2023. The agency has cut project reserves, expanded some construction schedules and eliminated discretionary programs.

The board will continually monitor revenue and could adjust timelines as projects move through environmental studies and final design updates, according to Sound Transit.

The board has directed staff to continue evaluating options for expanding light rail further south in the wake of revenue shortfalls. The recession's impacts are worst in the South King County area, where forecasted revenue is down 31 percent, agency officials said.

Projects currently under construction or in the final design stage will not be affected because they’re fully funded, they said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/20/2010