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May 30, 2003

Coalition for Effective Transportation
P.O. Box 33045
Seattle WA 98133
206 365-CETA (2382)

Contact: Maggi Fimia

Sound Transit's "preliminary agreement" with Burlington Northern doesn't live up to promises

The recent announcement by Sound Transit about their "preliminary agreement" with Burlington Northern to run commuter trains from Seattle to Everett sounds like good news. Unfortunately, but true to form, Sound Transit's declaration of victory really is another admission of defeat.

What voters were promised in the 1996 Sound Move Plan:
1) Cost-sharing contracts with BN within two years of vote.
2) Track and facility costs of $107 million (1995 dollars)
3) 4 stations including Bond St., Edmonds, Mukilteo and Everett Multimodal (additional $25 million 1995 dollars)
4) 6 trains each way during commute time between Seattle and Everett
5) Daily boardings of 2400 to 3200 Seattle to Everett and 10,600 to 14,000/day Seattle to Lakewood.
6) Service to start within 5 years at the most.

What Sound Transit is delivering seven years later:
1) A "preliminary agreement" with BN, not unlike the preliminary agreement with the Port of Seattle for where the light rail line would go -- not signed, not decided, not funded.
2) Track and facilities costing $224 million plus interest -- again, not decided.
3) 1 station, Everett multimodal, one temporary platform in Edmonds and an "eventual" stop in Mukilteo.
4) 1 train each peak period- with maybe four, if there is an actual agreement.
5) Daily boardings for the Seattle to Lakewood/Tacoma service are 14,000 per week, not per day.
6) Service will not start for at least 7 years after the vote, more like 9 years for anything more than one train each way per day.

Questions for Sound Transit:
1. Where is this extra money supposed to come from?
2. Why is an actual Agreement taking so long?
3. When will these other stations and services really happen?
4. Has anyone actually seen this Preliminary Agreement?
5. What effect does ST controlling the 21-mile Nisqually/Tacoma track have on the State Inter-City Rail project?

This Agency has no idea how to "run a railroad."

Sources: The Sound Move Ten-Year Regional Transit System Plan pages; 21, A-3, C-19, D-5 and the Sound Transit announcement 5/28/03


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