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Old April 2nd, 2008, 04:49 AM   #1841
SteveM
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Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
For a start in understanding the economics, look at the Sounder schedule:

http://www.soundtransit.org/x71.xml

Most of the trains make one run into Seattle in the morning and then sit there all day before making one run out of Seattle in the evening.
No, that by itself doesn't explain anything -- depreciation of the train cars should logically be more tied to use than to time. And each of those train cars is pretty packed, judging by ridership numbers. And there's presumably no (or little) labor cost while the trains aren't moving. Running empty trips in the middle of the day would presumably make the economics worse, not better.
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 09:47 AM   #1842
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No, that by itself doesn't explain anything -- depreciation of the train cars should logically be more tied to use than to time. And each of those train cars is pretty packed, judging by ridership numbers. And there's presumably no (or little) labor cost while the trains aren't moving. Running empty trips in the middle of the day would presumably make the economics worse, not better.
First, locomotives idle most of the time. It's very hard (and fuel-expensive) to stop and then restart an engine, so they use a considerable amount of fuel idling all day. Granted, it's just a few percent of running full time, but that knocks a bit off the cost.

Second, most of the crews are salaried, as I understand it. They have a minimum shift length, so increasing the length of time they work in a shift wouldn't increase labor costs.

Third, when there are only a few trips, people are less likely to use a service. They worry that they might get stuck at work late, or they want the option to go home at midday if they aren't feeling well - there are myriad reasons that people look for flexibility in timing. The more trains that run, the more people will ride *all* trips - not just the new trips. Only two round trips are packed to the gills so far - of nine total (six Tacoma, three Everett). This is the reason Sounder per-trip expenses are so high right now are that the Everett service is fledgling. We've run two round trips a day with service to only two non-Seattle stations. That's not high enough for people to want to use the Everett service - we've just implemented trip three, and haven't even started running trip four. When the fourth trip starts running, and the second Everett parking facility, Mukilteo station and ferry terminal, and Edmonds multimodal terminal are complete, you'll likely see Sounder North ridership go up. I'm betting it'll quadruple or more.

There's also the efficiency factor for maintaining each facility. Spreading O&M costs across more riders decreases overall cost per rider for these fixed costs.

Anyway, this is more about the cost comparison between running Sounder service and the increased maintenance cost to I-5 and other highways, not to mention the economic impact of congestion. The more people use this instead of a congested highway, the more economic growth we have. Sound Transit isn't a business, they're a public service.

Last edited by UrbanBen; April 2nd, 2008 at 09:55 AM.
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 11:16 AM   #1843
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I still think they should allow future light rail on 520 regardless if it's not for the near future. A little disappointing...

~~~~

Hate to bring comparisons, but here in Vancouver, the Alex-Fraser bridge is built for future light rail, although you would not see LRT running there for at least another 50 years.
The Alex-Fraser bridge won't require pontoon replacement or massive refurbishment in 50 years. 520 likely will, and it's going to be that long (most likely) before we actually want to build rail across it.
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Old April 12th, 2008, 03:43 PM   #1844
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http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/transp...trolley12.html

Last updated April 11, 2008 9:02 p.m. PT

Waterfront streetcar likely won't roll again for a decade
Metro still needs a maintenance barn, and viaduct plans are getting in the way
By LARRY LANGE
P-I REPORTER

Seattle's vintage waterfront streetcar, mothballed for more than two years and expected to be running again by now, probably won't return for another decade.

And if it did, it's unclear where it would go.

The 1.6-mile line, popular with tourists, was shut down in late 2005 to make way for the Olympic Sculpture Park amid expectations that it would return in just over two years. That hinged in large part on a developer's proposal to add a maintenance barn to a new building on Occidental Avenue South in Pioneer Square.

But that development has stalled, and Metro Transit's director has told developer Greg Smith that his agency is looking for other barn sites.

Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond said his agency still wants to operate the waterfront line, but it had expected a new facility in place by now. In an April 2 letter to Smith, Desmond said "our planning assumptions have not materialized."

The county had planned to approve a purchase and sale agreement for the barn almost a year ago, Desmond said in his letter.

"Now, even under the most optimistic scenario, it does not appear that the maintenance facility can be completed before 2010," and initial construction work to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct begins next year.

"Construction on or above Alaskan Way is scheduled to start no later than 2012, thus preventing the streetcar operation until the project is completed in about 2018," Desmond's letter said. "Given our own timelines and commitments, the county must begin looking for alternative sites."

In an interview, Desmond said Metro is disappointed that the arrangement hasn't worked out.

The price for the facility at Smith's development has risen, though Desmond would not discuss by how much.

Smith could not be reached Friday for comment.

The waterfront line, using vintage streetcars imported from Australia, opened in 1982 after a long campaign by former Seattle City Councilman George Benson to bring the streetcar to the area. They were a tourist draw but have been stored in a warehouse since the maintenance barn was closed.

Desmond said that since they have been mothballed, summer ridership on the diesel buses that have substituted for the trolleys has declined.

Officials said Friday that there's no active search for another maintenance site at the moment, and talk now isn't just about the waterfront streetcar. Looming viaduct replacement work is expected to shut down the line until that project is done, putting off a decision about any waterfront line. Also, an expansion of the streetcar system is possible; that could move the line to First Avenue.

And Sound Transit officials are considering building a streetcar line heading east on South Jackson Street and up Broadway to First Hill as a connector to its light rail system. Voters rejected a ballot measure last fall that would have built that connection, but Sound Transit is considering resubmitting it in a smaller package this year.

There's some hope that the waterfront line will eventually reappear. Desmond said state officials have promised to replace the existing tracks once the viaduct-replacement work is done. He said the county will keep in its budget the $7 million it had committed to pay for most of the maintenance facility in Smith's development. The city and the Port of Seattle committed an additional $1 million each.

City Councilman Richard McIver also is asking if new streetcars could be maintained in a barn built for the South Lake Union streetcar line.

"The circumstances have changed and there are a lot more balls in the air," said Marty McOmber, spokesman for Mayor Greg Nickels.

James Kelley, president of the Urban League of Seattle and co-founder of the Seattle Streetcar Alliance, said he was saddened by changes with the Occidental Avenue development, and his group will help find another location as part of a new system.

The alliance plans a May 13 session with businesses and landowners to discuss six other possible streetcar routes, to gauge their support. That session will come one week after a City Council transportation committee discussion of an enlarged network.

P-I reporter Larry Lange can be reached at 206-448-8313 or [email protected]. Read his Traffic Watch blog at blog.seattlepi.com/seattletraffic.
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Old April 12th, 2008, 10:42 PM   #1845
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 09:07 AM   #1846
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Rossi plan moves light rail funds to car pool lanes
Candidate projects extra cash from Sound Transit

By LARRY LANGE
P-I REPORTER

Besides resurrecting proposals for a Seattle tunnel and an eight-lane Evergreen Point Bridge, GOP gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi's transportation plan contains another controversial idea: getting Sound Transit to build more car pool lanes with cash it might otherwise spend extending light rail to the Eastside.

This element, part of the plan Rossi unveiled this week, estimates that Sound Transit will collect enough unplanned tax revenue in the next 30 years in its Eastside district to produce $690 million for HOV projects on Interstate 405 and state Route 520.

Sound Transit's extra cash would "be used for what it was intended -- to finance transit-related infrastructure on the Eastside," Rossi's plan says. In an interview Friday, Rossi said Sound Transit has "many buses, so we should have a place for them."

The agency's Eastside area extends from the North King County limits south to Renton, east of Lake Washington.

Sound Transit officials called Rossi's idea another move to build more road lanes and said the money could otherwise help extend rail service.

But Rossi is not proposing that money be spent on car pool lanes at the expense of more light rail, he said. With or without that money, "it's going to take a lot more" than that amount to extend light rail across Lake Washington.

"If they can move more people (with light rail) than you can in a general-purpose (highway) lane, I'm all on board," Rossi said. "The numbers have to prove it out."

He said his plan attempts to find other transportation funding sources, since gas taxes are expected to decline because of increasing car fuel efficiency and more transit use.

Rossi favors giving commuters options, including rail, but, "if it's necessary for them to drive a car, there's going to be a need to do this, too."

Sound Transit wouldn't confirm the surplus tax revenue projections in Rossi's plan. The agency confirms that tax collections from the Eastside are higher than forecast and predicts an unspent balance of $560 million in Eastside-area tax collections left over from the first phase of light rail, to be completed in 2016.

Since Sound Transit's first phase started in the late 1990s, Eastside tax collections are about $100 million more than expected, according to agency spokesman Geoff Patrick, who said the additional money must be spent as dictated by an as-yet incomplete plan that must be approved by voters, or to reduce Sound Transit's tax levy.

Rossi's plan doesn't specify HOV projects, but campaign spokeswoman Jill Strait said they include two HOV connections in Renton: one to I-405 at North Eighth Street and another between HOV lanes on I-405 and on state Route 167, the Valley Freeway.

Pro-bus organizations such as the Coalition for Effective Transportation and the Eastside Transportation Association support the plan, but officials of those groups said they didn't propose the idea to Rossi.

"The general idea of spending Sound Transit's transit money on cross-lake infrastructure (for) making buses work better across the lake is a good one," said John Niles, the coalition's technical chairman.

Rossi's proposal, however, hasn't gone over well with Sound Transit board members.

The chairman, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, said through a spokesman that he doesn't support Rossi's idea. "That money is going to be very useful for expanding transit service on the Eastside, light rail and bus service," Marty McOmber said.

McOmber said spending the greater-than-expected tax receipts on particular projects would require a public vote.

Seattle City Councilman and Sound Transit board member Richard Conlin said Rossi's plan appears to focus on building highway lanes, which is the state's responsibility.

"What we're looking for is to try and get some really good transit options on the Eastside," Conlin said, including light rail on Interstate 90 and high-frequency bus service on the Evergreen Point Bridge.

Kirkland City Councilwoman and Sound Transit board member Mary-Alyce Burleigh said that if the extra money is committed to HOV projects, it "would be very difficult" to complete light rail and other transit improvements on the Eastside. Rossi's proposal is "a whole departure from what has been the plan from the get-go," she said.

Rossi said that if he is elected, he'll try to persuade Sound Transit board members to adopt his idea. The text of his plan said it "will dedicate" half of the extra tax collections to HOV projects but he said in the interview that he'll change that language to indicate he'll ask for the change.

Responding to board members, Rossi countered that Sound Transit already has helped finance HOV ramps that connect HOV lanes to park and ride lots.

"They know it helps their buses," he said of Sound Transit.
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Old April 26th, 2008, 05:28 AM   #1847
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http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/transp...4_sound25.html

Last updated April 24, 2008 10:02 p.m. PT

Sound Transit unveils two tax increase plans
By LARRY LANGE
P-I REPORTER

Sound Transit officials will ask voters in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties to consider two tax plans, which are shorter and less costly than one rejected by voters in November, as possible ballot measures to finance transit expansion.

Agency board members voted Thursday to make the two sales tax increase measures available for public comment. The move follows last fall's defeat of a $47.2-billion transportation improvement measure that included roads and transit projects.

But with the economy faltering, some members said they're still uncertain how big a tax measure voters will tolerate. While Thursday's vote was a partial step toward another single ballot measure, board members have until July to decide.

"We want to ask the public to comment on the options," said King County Councilman and Sound Transit board member Dow Constantine. "There are a lot of variables."

The two possibilities, both 12-year construction plans, are:


A $9 billion expansion plan financed by a 0.4 of 1 percent increase in sales tax in the urban areas of the three counties. This option, according to agency staff, would cost an average household $100 per year and an average adult $55 annually.

It would expand light rail north to Northgate from the University of Washington, east to Overlake Hospital in Bellevue and south past Sea-Tac Airport to South 200th Street. It also would finance designing an extension to Everett; some land purchases for extensions to Everett and Tacoma; and studying a rail extension to Issaquah.


A $10.4 billion plan financed by a 0.5 of 1 percent increase in sales tax would cost an average family $125 annually and an average adult $69 per year, agency staff said. It wouldn't extend light rail beyond Northgate, but would push it farther east to the Overlake area of Redmond and south to Highline Community College.

The more costly package would finance a streetcar connection to First Hill and north to Aloha Street; and bus-lane improvements on state Route 99 in Shoreline. Both proposals would finance Eastside light rail on elevated tracks.

Both scenarios include improvements to bus and Sounder train facilities, and provide money to improve tracks in the Eastside rail corridor for possible service. A key difference between the two is that the 0.4-of-1 percent package would fund transit improvements, as well as parking and ramps as part of the replacement project for the Evergreen Point Bridge.

Cost estimates don't include the cost of bond repayments.

The board hopes to get public comment on the projects before deciding whether to put a new transportation measure on the November ballot; it must do so by late July.

The agency will seek comments on its Web page, soundtransit.org, and hold public meetings to test voter support for the two proposals; staffers said meeting times and dates will be announced. Staffers also plan to provide for comparison new cost estimates for the transit projects on the November ballot.

The board voted to approve publicizing the plans despite misgivings from Snohomish County officials that neither plan calls for extending light rail to their county. Questions also remain about how the rail extension will affect maintenance of the Interstate 90 bridge structure.

Board member Julia Patterson, a King County councilwoman, called for the agency to get input from people "who don't come to meetings."

Other board members said it's important to move closer to a decision, even if one isn't made by July.

"Voters expect us to do something," said board member Fred Butler. "We're doing something to advance where we finally end up."

Voters, 56 percent to 44 percent, rejected a failed ballot measure in November 2007, which included $30.8 billion in transit improvements, financing charges and some operating costs. Polling done shortly afterward showed that voters thought the package was too big and expensive.

Had it passed, the combined package would have levied a sales tax on residents of urban areas in the three counties that would have meant $150 a year per average household, in addition to a yearly car-tab tax.

Board members have since debated putting a smaller package on the ballot in November.


THE $9 BILLION PLAN HIGHLIGHTS

Financed by a 0.4 of 1 percent increase in sales tax in the urban areas of the three counties.

Cost an average household $100 per year and an average adult $55 annually.

Expands light rail north to Northgate from the University of Washington, east to Overlake Hospital in Bellevue and south past Sea-Tac Airport to South 200th Street.

Finances transit improvements; parking and ramps for the Evergreen Point Bridge.


A $10.4 BILLION PLAN HIGHLIGHTS

Financed by a 0.5 of 1 percent increase in sales tax

Cost an average family $125 annually and an average adult $69 per year

Would push light rail farther east to the Overlake area of Redmond and south to Highline Community College.


P-I reporter Larry Lange can be reached at 206-448-8313 or [email protected]. Read his Traffic Watch blog at blog.seattlepi.com/seattletraffic.
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Old April 26th, 2008, 05:47 AM   #1848
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Both proposals would finance Eastside light rail on elevated tracks.
Do they mean that the downtown Bellevue section would be elevated too?!?!
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Old April 26th, 2008, 06:28 AM   #1849
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Do they mean that the downtown Bellevue section would be elevated too?!?!
I had the same question.

The other thing that I don't understand is that the new proposals are nearly as expensive as the previous $10.8 billion plan that failed at the ballot box last fall. The previous plan was to have built 50 miles of light rail. The cost estimates for the new proposals are $9 billion and $10.4 billion respectively but they don't build nearly as much light rail. The article states that the cost numbers don't include bond repayments. I take this to indicate that the cost numbers reflect just the cost of construction and possibly operating subsidies for a limited period.
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Old April 26th, 2008, 01:54 PM   #1850
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http://www.soundtransit.org/x7809.xml

Sound Transit seeks public comment on mass transit expansion options

April 24, 2008

The Sound Transit Board today moved to kick off a public involvement process seeking input on new options that would modify last year’s mass transit expansion plan to form a faster and lower-cost package.

“Again and again our region's residents tell us we face an urgent need to expand mass transit,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. “These train and bus service expansions respond to that urgent call in a way that is faster and more affordable. I urge people to get involved and let us know what they think about this proposal.”

The major public involvement effort that Sound Transit launches in May will include meetings around the region as well as opportunities to comment online and by mail. In June and July the Board will consider the public priorities that are identified and whether to move forward with a 2008 measure.

The new options for a smaller package would lower the costs of last year’s Sound Transit 2 package by 41 percent to 49 percent. Sound Transit would complete these options within 12 years rather than 20 years. The options would cost 62 percent to 67 percent less than the total price tag for the roads and transit projects that together formed Proposition 1. The public is being asked to comment on whether the plan should be revised as proposed, or not.

The new 12-year options would achieve a 55 percent increase in the number of daily riders Sound Transit would serve in 2030. The new options center on a core set of investments funded by a sales tax increase of four-tenths of one percent (0.4 percent). Adding another one-tenth of one percent (for a total of 0.5 percent) would fund additional projects and services. The costs work out to an increase of about $55 (0.4 percent) or $69 (0.5 percent) a year for every adult, or either four or five cents for a $10 purchase.

The 12-year options would include funds for preliminary engineering, environmental review and early property purchase that would contribute to extending light rail to Everett and Tacoma in later phases.

Last year’s Sound Transit 2 plan called for building 50 miles of light rail over 20 years. If that plan were modified in favor of a 12-year approach, the new options propose that the expansions would include:

Link light rail: 18 to 23 miles of light rail expansions to the north, south and east, potentially serving communities including Bellevue, the Overlake area of Redmond, Mercer Island, Des Moines and Seattle’s northern University District, Roosevelt and Northgate areas. Connector light rail service would link Seattle’s International District, First Hill and Capitol Hill areas.

Sounder commuter rail: Increases of up to 90 percent in Sounder service between Tacoma and Seattle, potentially including 12 additional daily trips and platform extensions to allow longer trains.

ST Express regional bus: Service increases of 10 to 15 percent in key corridors, bus rapid transit service on State Route 520 and up to 20 miles of new arterial transit lanes.

Improved station access: Funding to increase access to transit facilities in Auburn, Edmonds, Everett, Kent, Lakewood, Lynnwood (including Ash Way and Mariner), Mukilteo, Puyallup, South Tacoma, Sumner, Tacoma and Tukwila. Projects will be tailored to the needs of each location and may include expanded parking; pedestrian improvements at or near stations; additional bus/transfer facilities for improved feeder service to stations; bicycle access and storage; and new and expanded drop-off areas to encourage ride-sharing.

Partnerships for expanded transit: Partnership funding for Eastside passenger rail on existing freight tracks; as well as for potential extensions of Tacoma Link light rail and projects in Bothell, Burien, Kirkland and Shoreline.

Public input collected in the first quarter of 2008 shows strong support for expanding the regional transit system, a perspective mirrored in a scientific telephone survey of 800 randomly selected residents. The results are available at www.soundtransit.org/future.

Sound Transit’s system of regional express buses, commuter rail and light rail currently carries about 50,000 riders each day, a number that will more than double following the 2009 opening of light rail service between downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac International Airport. Construction of that light rail line is moving forward on schedule and is now 85 percent complete.

Expansion of Link light rail between downtown and the University of Washington is slated to begin this year and be completed in 2016. University Link is projected to nearly triple the regional light rail system’s ridership to more than 114,000 a day by 2030. Last month, the Federal Transit Administration awarded the University Link project its highest rating for proposed transit projects in the nation, and $100 million for the project was included in the Bush administration’s proposed FY 2009 budget.
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Old April 26th, 2008, 01:59 PM   #1851
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http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...tation25m.html

Friday, April 25, 2008 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

Sound Transit turns to citizens in push for expansion plans
By Mike Lindblom

Seattle Times transportation reporter

Sound Transit is fast-tracking a possible route to the November ballot by showing transportation expansion plans to citizens this spring, even though agency leaders haven't figured out several crucial details.

In about two weeks, a mass mailing will display maps of potential rail, bus, and park-and-ride locations in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties, along with instructions on how to comment.

Transit-board members voted Thursday to seek more feedback before they decide whether to call a public vote.

A 20-year "Roads & Transit" construction plan was defeated last year. One question for board members is whether to field a ballot proposition now or wait until 2010.

Another question is money: whether to boost sales taxes an average of $100 or $125 a year per household, and for how many years.

A downsized 12-year version, nicknamed "ST 2020," is opposed by board members from Snohomish County, because light rail wouldn't cross the county line to Mountlake Terrace.

Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, along with Deanna Dawson, an Edmonds City Council member, argued Thursday that last year's bigger plan to reach Lynnwood should remain in play. Rail would reach Northgate and at least downtown Bellevue but stop short of Federal Way, on a south line under new options.

Everett Councilmember Paul Roberts cast the lone vote against the public outreach, saying there "are too many unanswered questions."

He won't support express buses instead of rail, because the state lacks a plan to reduce clogs in high-occupancy freeway lanes.

"I feel like we're running through the street trying to get dressed," he said.

Board Chairman and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, who wants an early vote, called last year's roads-and-transit proposition "a shotgun marriage" and said nobody is asking him for less transit. "We have a public that wants action," he said.

Another problem is the lack of a deal with BNSF Railway on two transit proposals: for additional Sounder commuter rail trips into Pierce County, or to convert a freight line to limited passenger service from Snohomish to north Renton.

Past BNSF deals took years to negotiate and cost tens of millions of dollars more than Sound Transit first hoped. An independent Expert Review Panel urged Sound Transit to reach a "term sheet" agreement before a transit election, something Chief Executive Joni Earl said she intends to do.

Also at issue is the Interstate 90 floating bridge, where concrete must be removed to add buoyancy if light-rail trains are to run there from Seattle to Bellevue.

State Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond, a board member, said construction and bridge-maintenance costs are unclear, and could increase.

She said studies aren't yet done to predict the effect on traffic, especially freight, from losing two road lanes. "I'm leaning 'no,' " she said of putting the issue before voters this year. "Why would you go back to a vote, when you don't have the answers?"

As gasoline prices approach $4 a gallon, backers such as Redmond Mayor John Marchione and Sumner Mayor Dave Enslow said they should keep trying for a plan this year.

With several highway-tolling proposals being considered around the state, Nickels argued transit lines are urgently needed. "I think it requires that we create an alternative to driving, and paying an $8 toll," he said.

Mike Lindblom: 206-515-5631 or [email protected]
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Old April 26th, 2008, 05:09 PM   #1852
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I had the same question.

The other thing that I don't understand is that the new proposals are nearly as expensive as the previous $10.8 billion plan that failed at the ballot box last fall. The previous plan was to have built 50 miles of light rail. The cost estimates for the new proposals are $9 billion and $10.4 billion respectively but they don't build nearly as much light rail. The article states that the cost numbers don't include bond repayments. I take this to indicate that the cost numbers reflect just the cost of construction and possibly operating subsidies for a limited period.
I can answer both of those.

First, downtown Bellevue would likely be underground, but nobody's deciding on that before a measure passes. It's far too contentious.

On the costs - the $10.8 billion was capital costs only. These new numbers include operating costs, *and* don't just build light rail. The mix of projects is quite different - buying up land in Snohomish, building more HOV projects, and nearly doubling Sounder South service.

I also note that last year, we were warned that waiting a year would dramatically increase costs. Construction inflation is still strongly outpacing CPI.
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Old April 26th, 2008, 10:42 PM   #1853
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I can answer both of those.

First, downtown Bellevue would likely be underground, but nobody's deciding on that before a measure passes. It's far too contentious.
OMG underground rail in DT Bellevue, thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you! But...where's it going to go if it's underground? DT Bellevue's only so big...
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Old April 29th, 2008, 02:59 AM   #1854
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the downtown portion would be ug

i imagine the rest of bellevue would be above ground

makes sense
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Old April 29th, 2008, 05:48 AM   #1855
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Would you expect the LRT go on I-90, then to Bellevue via Bellevue Way?
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Old April 29th, 2008, 07:34 AM   #1856
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Would you expect the LRT go on I-90, then to Bellevue via Bellevue Way?
Or it could travel along 118th Ave SE (close to the Eastside BNSF ROW), but I would prefer the Bellevue Way route.

Does anyone know what tunneling method ST would use for the underground portion, boring or cut-and-cover? I'm not sure about the soil condtions under Bellevue, but I think both could work.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 10:42 AM   #1857
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Of course, we would still have to vote and pass this expansion before construction can start. Speaking of which, has ST finally decided on what they are putting forth on the ballot? I hope its appealing to voters as more taxes won't do well in this economic downturn.
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Old April 30th, 2008, 02:14 AM   #1858
greg_christine
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I contacted Sound Transit regarding my questions concerning the ballot measure proposals. The following is the reply:

Hello-

Your question about the cost estimates for light rail in the recent Seattle PI was forwarded to me. I spoke with Andrea Tull, a senior planner in our Policy and Planning Division to verify that the number used in the article were correct, more specifically the cost estimates are:

The total capital cost for the 0.4% sales tax level option is $6.8 Billion in 2007$ and $9 billion in Year of Expenditure $.
The total capital cost for the 0.5% sales tax level option is $7.8 billion in 2007$ and $10.3 billion in Year of Expenditure $.

Neither of the cost estimates listed above includes the cost of a tunnel in downtown Bellevue. The estimated cost is for an elevated alignment through downtown Bellevue. These cost estimates are based on representative assumptions at this stage.

Currently, Sound Transit is undertaking environmental review for the East Link project, between Seattle, Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond, which includes a no build alternative and several build alternative routes. In downtown Bellevue, staff is reviewing at-grade, elevated and tunneling alternatives. The Board will identify a preferred alternative after publication of the draft Environmental Impact Statement and extensive public involvement.

Additional information on the East Link environmental review process can be found at www.soundtransit.org/eastlink.

If you have additional questions about Sound Transit’s plans to expand mass transit in the region and associated cost estimates you can visit our system expansion website at http://future.soundtransit.org/ or contact Andrea Tull at [email protected].

Thank you for your inquiry.

Ann Mueller
Link Light Rail Community Outreach
Sound Transit
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Old May 1st, 2008, 05:06 AM   #1859
oliver999
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really nice looking lightrailway
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 08:37 AM   #1860
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taiwanesedrummer36 View Post
Or it could travel along 118th Ave SE (close to the Eastside BNSF ROW), but I would prefer the Bellevue Way route.

Does anyone know what tunneling method ST would use for the underground portion, boring or cut-and-cover? I'm not sure about the soil condtions under Bellevue, but I think both could work.
If soil conditions were good for both, I would probably say boring. Cut and cover will be too much hassle. There are enough projects going on around DT. boring was used in the Seattle Bus Tunnel, and also the section of LR under I-5 so cut and cover would probably be uneconomical. But which one's cheaper?
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