Seattle’s Sound Transit announced the agency will move forward with sending a Sound Transit 3 (ST3) ballot measure to regional voters in November 2016. The measure can move forward following last week's adoption by the State Legislature of a transportation package with the full ST3 revenue authority requested by the Sound Transit Board and supported by Gov. Jay Inslee.
"Today, as Chair of the Sound Transit Board, I ask my colleagues for their support to put Sound Transit 3 on the ballot in November of 2016. We should create a ballot measure to extend light rail to Everett, Redmond, Tacoma, West Seattle, Ballard, and many communities between, to link even more destinations with bus rapid transit and to fully integrate regional and local transit service for maximum impact," said Sound Transit Board Chair Dow Constantine.
ST3 will expand congestion-free light rail farther and deeper into King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. The areas Sound Transit serves are home to more than 40% of Washington's residents, 70% of its economic activity and 97% of its traffic congestion. By 2040 the area's population is set to grow by one million people, equivalent to the current populations of Seattle, Everett and Tacoma combined.
Expanding high-capacity transit services is the best way to dramatically expand the capacity of the region's most congested corridors and to channel growth around vibrant transit hubs where people will rely less on cars and move easily between trains and buses. A light rail line can move up to 12,000 people per hour in each direction, while a congested freeway lane occupying the same space moves as few as 700 cars.
The Sound Transit Board is currently seeking input on which projects should be studied as final candidates for the ST3 measure. Public input will help shape a final list of priority projects to be studied this fall. Results of those studies will support further narrowing by the Board to shape the draft ST3 measure for public input early next year before adopting a final measure in June for a November 2016 vote.