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Seattle Transit Blog: I-5 North Rail Route Makes More Sense than 99

By Erica C. Barnett August 18, 2011

Seattle Transit Blog has a side-by-side comparison of the two alternatives for North Link light rail, which Sound Transit officials are shopping around to local partner agencies now. The upshot: The I-5 option costs less, and performs better, than a rail alignment up SR-99.
The alternatives analysis estimates that a SR-99 alignment would be between $590-670 million more than an I-5 alignment. The I-5 alignment is roughly half at grade, while the SR-99 is entirely elevated. This, in addition to the 1.7 miles of additional guideway and higher costs associated with working in the already developed and constrained ROW along SR-99 most certainly contribute to the higher costs. Due to higher cost and fewer new passengers the SR-99 alignment has significantly higher costs per new passenger.

Read the whole thing, including a chart showing a side-by-side cost comparison of the two options, here.
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