Seattle’s Northgate Link Extension opens to the public

Posted: 6 October 2021 | | No comments yet

The Northgate Link extension will make neighbourhoods of Seattle easier to reach from the city centre, as the operator looks for public feedback on plans for future projects.

Sound transit train in Seattle

The Northgate Link has opened to the public in the Washington city of Seattle

Seattle residents will be able to reach the northern areas of their city much easier with the opening of the Northgate Link extension.  The 4.3-mile extension adds three new stations to the system, at Northgate, Roosevelt and U District, with trips of just 13 minutes from Northgate to downtown Seattle.

The opening heralds what operator Sound Transit has called “the start of an unprecedented period of transit expansion in the region.” In just three years, the Link light rail network will nearly triple in reach, from 22 miles to 62 miles, with service to Tacoma’s Hilltop in 2022, East King County in 2023 and Lynnwood, Federal Way and Downtown Redmond in 2024.

“This is a historic day and the start of three years that will transform how people get around our region,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and University Place Council Member Kent Keel.

“Northgate Link will let thousands of riders get to their destinations on time without sitting in horrendous traffic. We are able to celebrate this milestone thanks to support from Federal Transit Administration, our congressional delegation and the regional voters who approved building a world-class transit system for our growing communities.”

“The opening of Northgate Link is a great leap forward for Puget Sound commuters, the first of many leaps forward for Sound Transit in the coming years,” added Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff.

“As Sound Transit looks to nearly triple our light rail network in just the next three years, we are thankful for the hard work and dedication of staff and the construction workforce in achieving this monumental feat in the middle of a pandemic.”

The project’s $1.9 billion baseline budget includes a $615 million credit agreement under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA), which Sound Transit says provided significant long-term savings for regional taxpayers through reduced borrowing costs. The operator says the project is coming in approximately $50 million under budget.

“One thing I always hear from commuters across Puget Sound is that people want more public transit –and the opening of the Northgate light rail extension is a testament to Puget Sound taxpayers and their commitment to reliable public transit that will connect our entire region,” said U.S. Sen. Patty Murray.

“This expansion is a huge step forward in increasing accessibility, cutting emissions, and improving commutes for Sound Transit riders. It’s great to see transit options like the light rail expand throughout the region—and I am going to continue pushing for more investments to keep commuters in our state going where they need to go.”

In addition, Sound Transit is looking for people along the West Seattle and Ballard corridor who “bring diverse perspectives and lived experiences” to serve on a community advisory group (CAG). The CAGs will provide an additional forum for community members to help inform the Sound Transit Board’s confirmation or modification of the preferred alternative for the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions project.

Feedback from the advisory groups will be taken together with all the input gathered from the public comment period when Sound Transit releases the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the project, and shared with the Sound Transit Board before it confirms or modifies the preferred alternative early next year.

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