City and Sound Transit sign agreement to halt legal dispute

Stemming from an executive session earlier in the evening of Dec. 6, the Mercer Island City Council unanimously approved a new agreement between the city and Sound Transit to cease current litigation connected with the Mercer Island Transit Integration project.

City Manager Jessi Bon co-signed the agreement with Sound Transit’s Jon Lebo, executive project director of the East Link Extension Project, which will begin featuring light rail and King County Metro station use on the Island in 2024, according to Sound Transit’s plan.

Three council members joined city staff and legal team representatives during the settlement negotiations to help halt the dispute, thus focusing the entities’ resources on transportation and infrastructure projects and striving for improved collaboration as regional partners, the city said.

According to a joint statement from the city and Sound Transit, “This is after several years of legal dispute. The agreement allows both agencies to avoid costly ongoing legal proceedings, including a trial set for early next year.”

In an earlier settlement revolving around increased vehicle and pedestrian infrastructure needs triggered by the aforementioned East Link project, Sound Transit agreed to reimburse the city for $10,050,000 for projects and improvements, and those terms remain with the new agreement. Disagreements arose from that settlement — causing litigation to be filed — and have now been resolved, the city said.

According to the new agreement, “which shall not be construed as an admission of wrongdoing by any party,” the city agrees to issue a trio of payments to Sound Transit on March 31, 2023 ($575,000), Jan. 31, 2024 ($125,000) and Nov. 30, 2024 ($1,400,000).

Council’s action on ratifying and approving the agreement was added to the regular business portion of the meeting during the agenda approval.

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