Sound Transit believes you have to spend money to save money.
On Aug. 26, the Board of Directors approved another $4.2 million for light-rail consultants to help find ways to take cash off of the books. Sound Transit is still looking at a funding gap that is $6.5 billion wide.
The decision increases overall payments to HNTB to $92 million. Some of the extra money is due to delays during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sound Transit also has paid almost $800,000 to Triunity Engineering & Management for three reports detailing how the agency found itself in this financial nightmare. The examination revealed, among other things, that Sound Transit chooses to crack down on costs and risks in the final engineering and construction phases, which is too late. Rising right-of-way costs also were a problem, and the agency did not use real estate specialists wisely during early estimating. Another example cited by the reports was when the Board handed HNTB several options for an alternative to the Ballard-to-West Seattle route rather than selecting a preferred one itself.