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Sound Transit approves cash for Cap Hill light rail station fighter jets

View from below of ‘Together,’ the artwork destined for Capitol Hill’s light rail station when it opens in 2016.

Got two fighter jets you’ve been looking to get rid of? There’s a new buyer on Capitol Hill and he’s got the cash to make the deal. Sound Transit’s finance committee approved $440,000 Thursday for the “purchase of material and fabrication of artwork” for the Capitol Hill light rail station, according to spokesperson Bruce Gray.

Motion M2009-64

Authorizing the chief executive officer to execute a contract amendment with Nonstop, Inc., to initiate the purchase of material and fabrication of artwork for the Link Capitol Hill Station in the amount of $440,000, with a 10% contingency of $44,000, totaling $484,000, for a new total authorized contract amount not to exceed $604,000.

The move gives artist Mike Ross’s company Nonstop, Inc. the budget necessary to purchase . Ross modified his design and further abstracted the jets after an initial outcry received a great deal of attention.

Ross had said that he was having difficulty finding the jet parts he needed for his design last summer. But according to the attached report the Sound Transit finance committee reviewed prior to voting on the money, Ross has found the right jets: 


  • Initiates fabrication from an approved design as part of a multi-phased contract for the “Together” sculptural artwork in the Capitol Hill light rail station within the University Link project.
  • The artwork includes the use of two decommissioned military planes that are difficult to locate, and this amendment will allow the procurement of material that has been located.
  • Projections indicate that buying the material and fabricating the artwork now and then storing the completed work until installation will save funds over the extended duration of the project. Construction of the station is scheduled to be completed in 2015 and open for service in 2016.
  • As sexy as jet fighter art is, Sound Transit’s light rail project on Capitol Hill has some much bigger issues to also be thinking about.

    • Sound Transit launched its initial light rail link in the city.
    • The tunnel contracts are being awarded. Traylor Frontier-Kemper was selected to excavate the University of Washington station and dig the tunnels between the UW site and Capitol Hill. The Capitol Hill to Downtown contract will be awarded in August according to the Sound Transit project site.
    • The capping phases for the Capitol Hill station area along Broadway has begun where an empty 3 acres of asphalt will wait as the contractors prepare to begin construction. 
    • Sound Transit is on the hook for litter and graffiti issues at the site until construction begins and the contractors take over. ST hotline to report issues: 888-298-2395
    • In early 2010, the first phase of construction will include giant sound walls and round the clock work schedules.
    • Meanwhile, a process to include community input in the Capitol Hill station’s transit oriented development (TOD) continues. This one is also worthy of a much-needed CHS update. Coming soon.
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    11 thoughts on “Sound Transit approves cash for Cap Hill light rail station fighter jets

    1. It is unfortunate that this art project is moving forward. It’s really a stupid concept, as are the graphics of the mural art at the entrances. But alas I am but one lone voice in what appears to be the minority. I will learn to ignore it like we do so many things.

    2. I have opposed this art concept from the beginning. I do not like it, too militaristic and quirky.

      And a half a million … wow, who duped who.

      Sound transit is gushing with cash, but, mitigation on C. Hill is scant.
      How about a story on that? Also, is there a seismic study on the heavy pieces of metal suspended above the station… a station with flesh and blood people on them? Bet not.

      Cables with tons of metal will snap in a quake … I do not care to think of the potential horrors raining down on the people below if it happens….

      I asked the question in an email … has never been replied to.

    3. I snorted coffee out my nose at this one. Cables snap in an earthquake? Are you joking? The earth may tremble and shake, but a cable is not going to break. Those things typically tensile strength ratings in the hundreds of thousands of pounds – and they’re FLEXIBLE. They aint gonna break.

      That’s why they use cables to suspend the car (and other objects) over your head at the Seattle Art Museum.

      As far as spending half a mil on “art” for the light rail station, I agree: big waste o’ money.

    4. Art is subjective. Whether or not you like a particular piece is your opinion, to which you’re fully entitled of course. But it ain’t really gonna make a difference, becuase whatever it is, someone else will take the opposite stance, and neither one of you is wrong.

      Personally, I think I like it. But I’ll reserve full judgement until I see the real thing. As for the budget that goes to art…..yeah, it’s a big egg to swallow. But I have to say I kind of appreciate that ST’s biting the bullet and paying up now, because it’ll be worth it in the long run to have stations with atmosphere. (Though I’m probably opening myself up to vicious attacks with that statement.)

    5. I have owned heavy equipment and under stress large size industrial cable will break. So, get over your conjecture that all is well cause it looks good and you could hang your ass there for sure without a problem.

      The plane pieces will be tons of inert metal and under the jerking,bouncing,abrading motions of the giant quake as is expected one day – my only question is – will these cables be engineered to be TOTALLY safe.

      Ho, ho ho, hee hee hee to such a rational thought.

    6. There are so many amazing local artists – right here in Capitol Hill. I don’t understand why #1 – half a mil is being spent on this art installation and #2 why was local talent not used?

    7. FWIW, typical overhead rigging practice uses a 5:1 or 10:1 design factor for the cables used to suspend gear over the public. That being said, the dynamic and shock loading that occurs in an earthquake adds up VERY quickly. For example, a 180 pound person falling 6 feet and stopping over a distance of 2 feet will produce a 720 pound shockload.

    8. If it annoys conservatives I like it.

      As for the cost, it is pretty steep but Sound Transit is required by Washington State law to spend 1% of the total cost of the project on art. That’s why there’s so much artwork on the new Link line down MLK.

    9. The very fact that so many are calling on censoring this art project, is all the more reason the this project needs to be compleated. I mean, raally, kissing pink fighter jets, hardly war mongering propaganda.