Friday, June 11, 2010

Sound Transit seeks earlier LRT link to SeaTac

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Seattle’s Sound Transit wants to extend its growing light rail transit system 1.6 miles south into the city of SeaTac by 2016, ahead of schedule by four-to-six years. The segment would extend LRT from SeaTac/Airport Station to a new elevated station near South 200th Street and International Boulevard South, offering expanded parking and improved rail/bus links.

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An expedited opening also would dovetail with the planned opening of the north-end Capitol Hill Tunnel, allowing riders to reach the University of Washington from the south suburbs.

But Sound Transit needs to secure roughly $34 million in grants, and make a board decision in spring 2011 to launch construction on the link, expected to cost more than $300 million, said Ron Lewis, Sound Transit deputy director for business services.

Lewis said the proposed extension would be elevated in large measure because elevated right-of-way would minimize conflicts with airpor tloop roads, as well as busy South 188th Street. Also, a dip in the terrain thwarts a surface layout, he said.