Voters approve Sound Transit 3 | Election 2016

Sound Transit officials announced this week that voters approved Sound Transit 3.

The $54 billion transit plan will connect the Puget Sound by linking 16 cities with 116 miles of light rail, 30 cities with bus rapid transit/express bus lines, and 12 cities with commuter rail, and was listed as Proposition 1 on ballots in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

About 54 percent of voters in those counties approved the measure, which will have its last project completed in 2041.

Initial results posted on Nov. 8 had voters in King County passing the plan with a wide margin, 58.35 percent to 41.65 percent. Voters in Snohomish county passed the proposition with 51.58 percent approval.

Pierce County shot down Sound Transit 3 with 55.72 percent rejecting the proposal. But King and Snohomish’s plurality overrode Pierce’s dissent.

Claudia Balducci, King County councilmember and Sound Transit Board member, said she could see some of the voters rejecting the proposition could warm to the idea if Sound Transit meets its promises.

“We are making a big commitment and a commitment to deliver,” she said. “If we deliver on our promises on time, we will earn continued trust from the voters.”

Issaquah Mayor and Sound Transit Board member Fred Butler said the region made the right decision.

“ST3 is really historic in many respects … I believe we have a blueprint to address the serious traffic issues the Puget Sound is facing,” he said. “This will make a significant impact on reducing congestion.”

Opponents had derided the plan as a costly way to implement already-outdated technology for a tiny percentage of commuters. Another complaint was that it would take too long. Proponents have said that portions of the line would be completed much sooner, light rail was a dependable way to move large groups of people, and the transit plans would help alleviate some of the area’s congestion woes.

Balducci added another reason people supported Proposition 1.

“I spent a lot of time out and about talking to people. The thing that got the most emotional was the idea of leaving a legacy,” she said. “And it’s one for me too. I’ll be able to ride light rail in Bellevue before I retire, and my son can take advantage of it his entire life if he chooses to live and make his career in the area. It means a lot to me.”

Mercer Island will have light rail service in 2023, after the region passed the ST2 measure in 2008.

For updated election results on ST3, see http://results.vote.wa.gov/results/20161108/king/Breakdown-113817.html and https://info.kingcounty.gov/KCElections/Results/web-results.aspx. Results will be certified Nov. 29.


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