July 14, 2024 1:35 pm

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Sound Transit CEO on navigating light rail expansion during COVID-19

By Erin Freeman | Lynnwood Times Staff

CEO of regional transit provider Sound Transit Peter Rogoff held a virtual coffee chat with the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County on the morning of December 8, conversing with community members about the latest light rail project updates and COVID-19 impacts.

The Link light rail, a transit system serving the Greater Seattle Area, is undergoing the largest expansion program in North America, a soon to be 116-mile-long rapid transit network connecting Snohomish County cities to neighboring counties.

Back in April, when Governor Jay Inslee began issuing statewide executive orders related to construction services, Sound Transit had to stand down 80% of the light rail’s construction activity. Using the time to formulate safety plans, they were soon able to restore almost all of it, with very little time penalties to the project.

“By the end of 2024, you will be able to take light rail through a true network that can extend from downtown Redmond, up to Lynnwood, down to Federal Way, and all the stops in between,” explained Rogoff. “It will be the network that the region has needed for a very long time.”

Beginning in 2024, Sound Transit is not expected to run bus’s to Seattle, but rather feed buses into the Lynnwood Transit Center every 30 seconds during peak hours. Rogoff says he and his team have completed an extraordinary amount of work and expensive rebuilding in partnership with Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith, now a member of the Sound Transit board, to work to ensure the transit center has the structure and capacity to do so.

“Sound Transit is expected to use many of its bus hours once spent crawling in traffic trying to get people Downtown Seattle will instead get people on Lynnwood Light rail, which will get them to Downtown Seattle a lot quicker than the highways allow,” explained Rogoff.

The Lynnwood Link Extension will bring the light rail into Snohomish County, serving four stations in 2024. Then the Everett Link Extension planned for 2036 will add six Snohomish County stations. Stretching 16.3 miles, it will be the longest segment that Sound Transit proposed to open all at once.

Link to coffee chat presentation here.

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