Sound Transit releases expansion plan

Sound Transit has revealed an implementation plan to expand its system in the state of Washington.

With the November 2016 voter approval of Sound Transit 3 (ST3), the Seattle metropolitan authority will undertake an ‘ambitious’ mass transit system expansion. ST3 is Sound Transit’s third phase of voter-approved capital investments.

Along with ST2 projects that are progressing through planning, design and construction, the expanded system spanning the urban areas of Snohomish, King and Pierce Counties will include: 

  • A 116-mile light rail network with more than 80 stations serving 16 cities. It will expand five-fold beyond its current size, at a scale comparable to the largest such systems in the country.
  • An expanded and more frequent Sounder commuter rail system serving 12 cities.
  • Bus Rapid Transit and ST Express buses serving 30 cities.

The document, available here, places “innovative ideas” at the centre of its plans to expand the system which is to “embrace alternative project delivery methods early”.

Accordingly, Sound Transit staff intends to select the project delivery method as soon as a preferred alternative is identified. Alternative delivery methods will be evaluated against project goals before deciding which method to employ.

The document confirms the agency is actively studying P3 and procedures to review unsolicited proposals as potential means for delivering some future projects.

“Sound Transit will evaluate its capital programs for P3 opportunities and execute those P3 transactions which will result in significant improvement over traditional project delivery methods.”

The agency concludes: “With the stakes this high, it is imperative that we deliver this system expansion in a timely manner. This requires the public and private sector pulling together with discipline, creativity and fiscal prudence to manage the significant risks associated with large capital programs. The reforms described in this report are intended to assist in that pursuit.”

As previously reported KPMG, EY, and Hatch have been appointed as advisors on the capital program.