ST3 Plan Update: Ballard may receive grade separated light rail…in 19 years

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Sound Transit released changes to the ST3 Draft Plan yesterday, which includes some updates on the Ballard transit plans.

After listening to feedback from about 35,000 surveys, updates were made which includes Ballard receiving light rail three years sooner in 2035 as opposed to 2038.

In addition to the updated time frame the updated ST3 plan for Ballard, while sticking to the 15th Ave W route through Interbay, will include grade separated light rail.

Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff confirms that it might be possible to speed up the timeline even more with a series of process changes which include favoring a design/build contract instead of a design/bid/build contract, having senior staff meet with stakeholders first to address concerns upfront, and finally, having local municipalities make zoning changes to allow light rail sooner.

To deliver the light rail options in the tighter time frame, Sound Transit believes that the overall cost of the project will increase by $4 billion.

The proposed updated projects and timelines are scheduled to be voted on by the Sound Transit Board at a special meeting on June 2. The completed language of the plan is scheduled for final adoption on June 23 to meet November ballot submission deadlines.

If approved, the project is estimated to add $400 a year in taxes for a typical household, Sound Transit says.

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