Sound Transit's Link light rail plan has people asking, 'Why so long?'
SEATTLE - Sound Transit's draft plan proposal released Thursday has some people asking why the project will take 25 years to complete.
Sound Transit 3 includes plans to connect light rail to Everett, DuPont, Issaquah, West Seattle and Ballard at a cost of $50 billion.
Some stations could open in the next few years, but some nearby neighborhoods will wait more than a decade for tracks. West Seattle won't have a station until 2033, and Ballard's would be completed in 2038.
Many took to social media with their concerns. Reice posted on KOMONews.com, saying "By the time it is done I will be flying around on my jetpack." Julie says, "Why are we paying for this, if it's gonna be 25 years before we can use it?"
Seattle's population is rapidly growing, Amazon continues to expand, and both Expedia and Google plan to finish massive Seattle campuses in 2019.
Meanwhile Seattle traffic has worsened. A recent Traffic Index published by TomTom found Seattle has the second-worst rush hour traffic.
Sound Transit says concerns over the timeline have been the "loudest message" they've received since they released the plan.
"Any major infrastructure project takes time to complete," Sound Transit Spokesman Geoff Patrick said.
They say there are two factors: building and financing.
The engineering process can take 15 years, between environmental review, design, and construction.
If completed, the plan would leave the region with 108 miles of light rail, along with significant expansion of bus rapid transit and other bus service, as well as the addition of Sounder rail service from Lakewood to DuPont.
Then there's the issue of funding this massive project.
The initial draft puts $23 billion of the total price on taxpayers via three tax hikes. Sound Transit says it will take at least 25 years to gather the funds to finance the massive construction.
"The board is trying to go as far as we can, as fast as we can," Patrick said.