OLYMPIA – Sen. Reuven Carlyle, Rep. Gael Tarleton, and Rep. Noel Frame, on Wednesday sent a letter to Dow Constantine, the Board Chair of the Sound Transit Board of Directors, urging Sound Transit to clarify information and key project details of Sound Transit 3 (ST3) ahead of any ballot measures asking voters to approve the proposed $15 billion project budget.
One of the main concerns of the lawmakers is that service from Ballard to West Seattle will not be accessible until much later than anticipated. The Ballard community currently has the fastest population growth in the City of Seattle.
“Sound Transit is a critical piece of a fully integrated transportation system for the 21st century,” said Sen. Reuven Carlyle. “At the same time, I feel strongly that connecting to Ballard and directly addressing transportation needs to enable long-term growth is absolutely essential. During the process of approving the authority for Sound Transit, it was made clear that Ballard was an essential component of Sound Transit’s success. Now it is time to live up to that commitment.”
During the 2015 Legislative Session, Senate Bill 5987, authorized Sound Transit the authority to ask voters to approve new revenue for financing the multi-billion dollar expansion of ST3. The 36th Legislative District delegation has asked the Sound Transit Board for clarification on several key issues:
- The reasoning behind any changes to the Long Range Plan and the most recent options for the Ballard to West Seattle corridor.
- An update on the results of the surveys with ST users and constituents conducted by Sound Transit board and staff, and how Sound Transit is using the results to develop the language for the ST3 ballot measure.
- An update on the total build out costs, as well as the projected amount and revenue sources that Sound Transit will ask voters to approve.
- The probability that Ballard will receive light rail service by the proposed date of 2023-25 given increased costs and corridor redesign.
“We appreciate our region’s strong commitment to light rail,” said Rep. Gael Tarleton. “The investments we need to make in Sound Transit 3 will be essential to a vibrant economy for a region that will grow to more than 6 million people in the next 25 years. Ballard is where urban density and thousands of jobs for our middle class come together. We need to get our investments right the first time and I look forward to helping make the right choices.”
The 36th LD lawmakers hope to better understand the details of the project proposal from both a transportation infrastructure perspective and a tax payer accountability perspective ahead of the measure being on the ballot in November.
“What is most important to me is that whatever decisions Sound Transit makes over the course of planning and implementing ST3, the promise of rail in Ballard not be neglected,” said Rep. Noel Frame.
View the letter here: 36th Legislators_ST3