April 29, 2011

Sound Transit purchases ROW for light rail extension

The Sound Transit board approved the purchase of 1.1 miles of former BNSF right of way in Bellevue, Wash., needed for the upcoming extension of East Link light rail service to Bellevue and Redmond.

The purchase of the key property from the Port of Seattle supports Sound Transit's work to start construction of East Link in 2015. Included in the purchase package offered by the Port of Seattle is an easement that provides access to 37 miles of the rail corridor between Woodinville and Renton for other potential high-capacity transit investments in the future.

The board's approval of the purchase, with a price of $13.8 million, follows a non-binding memorandum of understanding between the Port of Seattle, Sound Transit and other parties that was reached in 2009. In addition to the Sound Transit board, the transaction is also subject to upcoming review by the Port of Seattle Commission.

Sound Transit requested and received approval from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for a "protective acquisition" before the FTA issues a Record of Decision approving a final East Link alignment. Sound Transit is scheduled to adopt the final alignment this summer.

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