New cost estimates for Ballard, West Seattle light rail jump by $4 billion

The cost of Sound Transit’s new light rail addition to Ballard and West Seattle has increased by about $4 billion.

While originally estimated at $7.1 billion, the project costs are now expected to be in the $12 billion range, depending on station locations and alignment.

Sound Transit’s CEO, Peter Rogoff assures board members and the public that this more than 50% increase in cost is not as damaging as it seems. By controlling the size of projects and building in phases using rolling budget funds, Rogoff is confident Seattle will see a light at the end of the transit rail.

The increase in building costs is mainly due to rising real estate prices. In West Seattle and Ballard specifically, land prices have climbed since 2015, when the $54 billion budget for the transit building was approved. This created a big budget issue for Sound Transit and the building of the West Seattle and Ballard light rail lines.

Along with real estate price increases, costs have also been affected by other project upgrades by the city, public requests, and environmental conditions.

For now, the construction will continue but the Sound Transit board is making final decisions after the review of a recently finalized enviornmental impact statement.

For more information on the Ballard and West Seattle light rail extensions, please visit here.