Tuesday’s national election results were a prime example of how, sometimes, it’s not as important how many votes you get but how you get them. But the hugely important decision faced by Puget Sound voters on the future of the region’s transportation system ended up a celebration of the popular vote. The campaign to deliver a combined “YES” on Sound Transit 3 vote across King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties celebrated its victory Thursday.
Today, I am honored to officially declare that Sound Transit Proposition 1 has passed with majority support from voters in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties.
With this landmark vote in favor of regional mass transit we’ve turned the page on our tumultuous transportation past, and begun a new chapter that will redefine our future.
Proposition 1 finally gives us the full-scale public transportation system we have always needed. It will benefit all of us, as well as our children and grandchildren by improving the environment, our region’s economy, and the quality of life of people in the Puget Sound for generations to come.
On behalf of the entire Mass Transit Now campaign and our coalition partners, I extend my sincere gratitude to everyone who supported Proposition 1 with their time, treasure and votes.
Prop 1 passed despite failing to our south in Pierce County. You can see by the tallies, with King County’s strong support, the more far flung “NO” voters didn’t have a chance:
ST3 will dramatically expand light rail in the region. The $53.8 billion package will extend light rail lines to Redmond by 2024, Ballard by 2035, and West Seattle by 2030. Extensions into Everett and Tacoma will come in the following years. The expanded system will require a second downtown tunnel.
Here is Sound Transit’s description of ST3 elements near downtown:
Seattle – Downtown/S. Lk. Union
A second subway through downtown Seattle would connect light rail riders from downtown Seattle to South Lake Union and Seattle Center with fast, reliable service continuing on to Ballard.
Downtown and South Lake Union access would expand with increased connections to the 116-mile regional light rail system reaching major job and housing centers in more destinations, including:
- Everett via Paine Field Industrial Center
- Sea-Tac Airport*
- West Seattle
The ST3 Plan would also:
Provide contributions to Madison Street Bus Rapid Transit and to RapidRide C and D line improvements to speed service to Ballard and West Seattle while light rail is under construction.
Increase Sounder south commuter rail capacity by extending platforms and serving trains up to 10 cars in length, carrying approximately 40 percent more passengers.
Add two new Sounder south commuter rail stops to serve Joint Base Lewis-McChord and DuPont, both with parking.
Add pedestrian and bike path improvements to easily connect residents to light rail and Sounder stations.
The $54 billion package will be funded and constructed over the course of more than 20 years, with roughly $27 billion in new regional taxes — composed of property, sales, and motor vehicle excise taxes — and the rest coming from a combination of federal grants, bonds, and existing Sound Transit tax revenue from Sound Move and ST2. Sound Transit estimated that ST3 will cost $200 annually for individual adults and $390 annually for families within the regional taxing district. Combined with an existing $303 a year for earlier phases of Sound Transit, the new ST3 boosted total will be $629 annual for a median household at $77,000 income.
In the meantime, the ST2-powered EastLink project is picking up steam including plans for the new Central District light rail station expected to open in 2023.
Sound Transit has announced that the Seattle-side line of light rail will be known as the Red Line while Eastside extensions will be known as the Blue Line.
Capitol Hill Station opened after six years of demolition and construction in the spring of 2015 as part of the $1.9 billion, 3.1-mile U-Link extension connecting downtown to Husky Stadium via Broadway. Ridership on the light rail line has surged even as the economic impact on the neighborhood has been more difficult to gauge.