Morning Fizz

"We Can No Longer Deliver the Entire Sound Transit 2 Program."

By Morning Fizz September 24, 2010

1. The Sound Transit board got some tough love from ST CEO Joni Earl at its meeting yesterday afternoon, when Earl delivered her recommendations for closing a $3.9 billion, 15-year budget gap.

"When the board adopted the financial plan in 2008, it was not yet recognized that we were in a national recession," Earl said. "At that time, we were able to say to you and the public that we were still cautiously optimistic that we could still deliver the entire Sound Transit 2 program within the 15-year window. … With the  updated forecast we can no longer deliver the entire Sound Transit 2 program and all of its elements in the 15-year time frame [from] 2009 to 2023."

Instead, Earl recommended, among other changes:

• Suspending the construction of a second light-rail station in Edmonds;

• Moving forward with a study of a proposed high-capacity transit line from Northgate to Lynnwood, but not committing to a particular alternative. "We are so early in that [process] that we consider that a project with risk," Earl said;

• Moving forward with East Link light rail (to Bellevue and Redmond) without committing to specific aspects of the project, such as a tunnel through downtown Bellevue;

• De-funding a proposed passenger rail line on Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) rail corridor between Renton and Snohomish along I-405, a pet project of the conservative Discovery Institute;

• Moving forward with a proposed extension of Link Light Rail from the airport to S. 200th St. while merely studying a planned light rail extension between S. 200th and S. 272nd, a decision that also "has real ramifications for Pierce County, because you don't get [rail] to Pierce County if you don't get to 272nd," Earl said; and

• No longer extending Sounder commuter rail platforms in South King County to accommodate longer trains.

On the operations side, Earl recommended cutting the number of new bus hours from 100,000 to 78,000, restructuring routes and reducing service throughout the system, delaying new Sounder round trips, and cutting other Sound Transit programs.

Speaking as the board's representative for South King County, King County Council member Julia Patterson said, "I'm very concerned about the cuts that are being proposed here. ... I hope there are other options."

2. Cementing their recent political alliance, Mayor Mike McGinn has signed on as a special guest speaker at next Friday's breakfast fundraiser for homeless advocacy group Real Change.

On the guest list, Real Change's recent nemesis in the panhandling debate, city council member Tim Burgess.

3. Let's go to the video tape: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has released video of GOP candidate Jaime Herrera showing that she supports Bush's unpopular privatized social security plan, despite her claims otherwise to the Olympian.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ometPc_Any0[/youtube]

4. McGinn is holding a press conference this morning re: yesterday's bomb shell news about council president Richard Conlin's decision to sign off on the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the deep-bore tunnel.
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