Friday, April 13, 2012

Sound Transit purchases land for East Link light rail

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Seattle-area's Sound Transit and the Port of Seattle have finalized Sound Transit's purchase of 1.1 miles of former BNSF track in Bellevue for construction of East Link light rail, as well as easements for future access to 37 miles of the Eastside rail corridor.

"Building East Link will create an estimated 40,000 direct and indirect jobs for our region while establishing a long-awaited mass transit connection across Lake Washington," said Sound Transit Board Chair and Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. "Thanks to the strong partnership between Sound Transit and the Port of Seattle, this transaction not only acquires essential property for East Link, but secures easements that could reduce the costs of future transit expansions."

Sound Transit's $13.8 million purchase from the Port of Seattle supports Sound Transit's work to start construction of East Link light rail. The 37-mile easement was also part of the purchase package offered by the Port of Seattle. The easement provides the ability to consider future voter-approved rail transit investments between Woodinville and Renton. Sound Transit would need to build new tracks to support the safety features and operating speeds needed for passenger rail service.

The Sound Transit Board voted to approve the purchase in 2011 following a 2009 non-binding memorandum of understanding that was negotiated between the Port of Seattle, Sound Transit and other parties.

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