A tunnel under the Ship Canal is emerging as the preferred option for Ballard Light Rail development, despite its hefty price tag.
A group of elected leaders made the recommendation to Sound Transit on Friday after considering the various options for light rail development in Ballard, which also included an elevated bridge or movable bridge options over the Ship Canal.
The Elected Leadership Group, which consists of several city councilmembers, Sound Transit board members, Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and Mayor Jenny Durkan, told Sound Transit officials last week that both the Ballard and West Seattle lines should be tunneled, according to KING 5. They also recommended against a movable Ballard light rail bridge, and against an elevated rail line in West Seattle.
The projected costs of the group’s preferred options would be over the estimated $5 billion to build the new lines — Sound Transit has referenced the need for third-party funding to be able to pay for the swelling project costs.
The question of the Ballard station alignment is still up in the air — there are plenty of opinions on both the 14th Ave NW and 15th Ave NW options.
Sound Transit board members are expected to vote on the recommendations in May.