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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Sound Transit adopts East Link route, station sites


Sound Transit’s board has selected a route and station locations for the East Link light-rail extension, which will serve East King County, Wash.

The selections now will be reviewed by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). After receiving a record of decision from the FTA, Sound Transit can begin construction, which is anticipated to start in 2015 or 2016, agency officials said in a prepared statement. Passenger service is slated to begin in 2022 or 2023.

“We have taken a important and long-awaited step toward expanding transportation capacity and commuting options for residents of East King County and the entire region,” said Sound Transit Vice Chairman Fred Butler.

The route would include a tunnel through downtown Bellevue, which is contingent on the city providing $160 million for the $300 million additional cost of the tunnel’s construction.

Bellevue’s financial commitment has been a focal point of recent negotiations between Sound Transit and the city; the parties anticipate establishing a binding memorandum of understanding by Oct. 25.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/1/2011