- In September, CHS reported that Sound Transit planners were considering an early opening for the more than seven-year, $1.9 billion project to build the U-Link light rail line connecting downtown to UW via Capitol Hill. Seattle Transit Blog reports on just how early the line might be ready:
The earliest option, a Q4 2015 opening, would incur additional costs of $10-12m, while the other two options incur no additional costs. Accordingly, staff recommended the middle option to the board: that the construction schedule be left intact, that systems testing be shortened from 180 to 90 days, and that the 169 days of float be used. Doing the back-of-the-napkin math, ULink could open as early as January 8, 2016.
U.S. Senator Patty Murray and Sound Transit Board members will be at the UW Station construction site Friday to announce the push for the early operation of the line. Sound Transit says the project is currently 80% complete and $100 million under budget. Judging the project’s early or lateness depends on at what point in time you measure from. In 1996, Sound Transit planned to have the route completed even earlier than 2016 — the planned start of operations then was 2006.
- Metro is again in the position of tightening its belt and making service cuts across King County — including a handful of Capitol Hill routes on the possible chopping block. King County Executive Dow Constantine is pushing for a new spending package in Olympia to make the cutbacks less severe. But he also is cooking up a “Plan B” —
A balanced statewide transportation package, with local options for funding Metro Transit and roads in the cities and unincorporated areas, remains King County’s first choice – but in the absence of action by state Legislature, County leaders say they will develop legislation by year’s end to give voters the chance to save bus service and maintain roads.
At the same time, King County Executive Dow Constantine was joined today by the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587 to announce tentative agreement on a new three-year contract that, if ratified, could preserve some bus service.
You can read the whole, lengthy thing here.