Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sound Transit hosts open houses on Federal Way Transit Extension

Sound Transit is conducting two open houses this month to seek public comment on its evaluation of alternatives to extend Link light rail from SeaTac to the Kent/Des Moines and Federal Way areas.

The current work will support efforts to reach the Kent/Des Moines area in 2023 and go further when funding is available.

The open houses will be on June 19 at the Federal Way Transit Center and June 26 at Parkside Elementary School.

During the past year, Sound Transit has evaluated alternatives between the Angle Lake light-rail station at SeaTac's South 200th Street, scheduled to open in 2016, and the Federal Way Transit Center, a distance of about 7.6 miles. The meetings will give the public the opportunity to provide comments on analysis done to date and suggest options and issues to be studied further as planning work continues. Sound Transit and the Federal Transit Administration will prepare a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) analyzing alternatives. The events are part of a formal environmental planning public comment period that continues until July 15.

Following the open houses and a review of the input provided by the public during the comment period, the Sound Transit Board expects to identify the alternatives to be further evaluated in a draft EIS starting this fall. The draft EIS will examine how project alternatives could affect the community and environment and should be available for public and agency review in late 2014. A Final EIS is planned for 2015.

In 2008, voters approved the extension of light rail from Sea-Tac International Airport to South 272nd Street at the northern edge of Federal Way as part of the Sound Transit 2 package. The analysis underway will establish a shovel-ready plan to extend light rail to the heart of Federal Way by supporting project eligibility for federal funding and efforts by Sound Transit to secure additional funding.

The agency expects to obtain a Record of Decision from the Federal Transit Administration in 2016, with construction to Kent/Des Moines planned to begin in 2019.

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