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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Sound Transit to open University Link extension early, under budget


Sound Transit's University Link light-rail extension will open six months ahead of schedule on March 19, the agency announced yesterday.

The project is more than $150 million under budget, Sound Transit officials said in a press release.

Rendering of the Capitol Hill Station
Source: Sound Transit

The 3.1-mile underground extension includes stations on Seattle's Capitol Hill and at the University of Washington near Husky Stadium. Trains making the eight-minute trip from the university to downtown Seattle will bypass some of the most congested traffic in the region, they said.

In 2009, Sound Transit secured an $813 million federal grant for the $1.8 billion project. Other funding sources include revenue from a sales tax and a motor vehicle excise tax, according to the agency.

The agency has coordinated the University Link opening with King County Metro, which is planning a major restructure of bus routes in Northeast Seattle to serve the University of Washington Station and improve connections, Sound Transit officials said.

In addition, Sound Transit has launched a new website showcasing interiors of the new stations and providing riders with other information.

This fall, the agency will open the 1.6-mile light-rail extension from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to a new station near South 200th Street in SeaTac, Wash.

By 2023, Sound Transit will operate nearly 50 miles of light-rail lines.

Map of the University Link light-rail extension
Source: Sound Transit

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