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State Legislators want Everett light rail prioritized

KOMO

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Eleven legislators have already signed a letter to Seattle Sound Transit asking for an Everett station to be prioritized during the construction of Sound Transit 3.

As of now, the Everett area won't have light rail until 2041, based on the draft plan released by Sound Transit last week. That is the same year the project would be completed.

"I'd like to have a good transportation package in ST3 to help my children," State Sen. Steve Hobbs from Lake Stevens said. "I never thought it would be my children's children."

Sen. Hobbs penned the letter that nearly a dozen other legislators have already signed. He expects the number of supporters to increase in the coming days before the letter is delivered Friday.

Sen. Hobbs argues that money gathered for other parts of the Sound Transit 3 construction could be reallocated to the Everett area to prioritize that leg of the project.

He argues industry in Everett - specifically Boeing - as well as ongoing job and population growth, make Snohomish County a priority for the project.

"This is a regional issue," he said. "This is not just about Snohomish County."

Sen. Hobbs letter features signatures from legislators around the county, spanning the 1st, 10th, 32nd, 36th, 38th, 39th and 44th Districts.

"They are the working class," State Rep. Cindy Ryu said about workers in Snohomish County. "And they don't have access to other transportation. I hope the South Transit Board looks at an urgent timeline. And I hope the Snohomish voters will be very supportive."

Sound Transit says there are other options that could complete an Everett Light Rail station earlier than 2041. Their current plan would send the Everett Light Rail directly along Paine Field, home to the Boeing Everett Factory. But a new design would run the Light Rail straight up along I-5. It would cost an estimated $1 billion less and could take only 15 years to build.

Sound Transit says they are currently holding public comment to discuss these types of concerns. It began Tuesday.

They say funding could possibly be reallocated from other areas around the region to build the Everett section earlier, but that will ultimately be a decision from the board.

Ultimately, the final draft will be put to a vote on the November ballot.

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