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Sound Transit votes to approve $2 million to plan for high capacity transit from Ballard to Downtown
Seattle's elected leaders welcomed the Sound Transit board's vote today approving an amendment to their 2012 budget to include $2 million to study of high-capacity transit from Ballard to downtown. Funding to study this corridor was included in the Sound Transit 2 package approved by voters in 2008. This agreement would accelerate that work by several years.
Sound Transit and the city of Seattle will work early next year to craft an inter-local agreement before the planning work begins using these funds.
This planning money, along with a $900,000 federal grant awarded to Seattle in October and City matching funds, will allow the City and Sound Transit to conduct a detailed analysis of alignments and technologies to meet the longer-term demand for transit between some of Seattle's fastest growing neighborhoods and downtown.
"This is an important step forward for expanding high capacity transit in Seattle that makes sense for our regional network. We thank the Sound Transit Board and staff for supporting efforts to accelerate planning for the Ballard-Downtown Corridor by several years," said Mayor Mike McGinn, a Sound Transit Board Member. "With this vote behind us, we can get to work developing an inter-local agreement between Sound Transit and the city of Seattle that will ensure our joint planning effort meets both the city's and the region’s high-capacity transit needs."
"This is a great opportunity to collaborate with Sound Transit on our common goal to expand regional transit service," said Council President and Sound Transit Board Member Richard Conlin. "In this era of shrinking budgets, pooling our resources and expertise is a smarter and more efficient way of delivering on that vision."
"As we look toward to the future and efforts to connect light rail to Everett, Tacoma, and Redmond, we can begin considering how to connect the substantial and growing transit market in Ballard and northwest Seattle to our regional transit system," said King County Councilmember and Sound Transit Board Member Larry Phillips. "This work lets eager transit riders in Seattle know we're planning for their future, while assuring our regional partners that we’re committed to building out the light rail spine through the three-county region."
The Downtown to Ballard corridor was highlighted in both the Seattle Streetcar Study in 2008 and the Sound Transit Long Range Plan in 2005. The corridor also ranked highly in the City's recently completed Transit Master Plan, which indicated rail could carry as many as 26,000 riders in 2030.