Sound Transit

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Sound Transit
Sound Transit logo.svg
Locale Puget Sound region, Washington
Transit type Bus, Commuter rail, light rail
Number of lines 30[1]
Daily ridership 96,000 (weekday, 2013)[2]
Annual ridership 30 million (estimated, 2013)[2]
Chief executive Joni Earl
Headquarters Union Station, 401 S Jackson St, Seattle
Began operation September 19, 1999[1]
Operator(s) Community Transit, King County Metro, Pierce Transit, BNSF Railway
Number of vehicles 350[1]

Sound Transit has been the popular name of Washington state's Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority since September 19, 1999.[1] It was formed in 1996[3] by the Snohomish, King, and Pierce County Councils. It operates express bus, commuter rail, and light rail service in the region and constructs capital projects in support and expansion of those services.

Express Bus[edit]

Bus #9610-K New Flyer DE60LF in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel
Main article: Sound Transit Express

Sound Transit's express bus fleet is operated by local transit authorities Community Transit, King County Metro, and Pierce Transit. Its Regional Express Bus Service provides service to cities in all three counties, including Seattle, Redmond, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Issaquah, Lakewood, Bellevue, Auburn, Federal Way, Gig Harbor, Everett, Woodinville, and Tacoma.

Light Rail[edit]

Current System[edit]

Main article: Link Light Rail

Sound Transit's light rail system consists of a 1.6-mile (2.6 km) line in Tacoma called Tacoma Link and a 14.6-mile (23.5 km) line in Seattle, Tukwila, and SeaTac called Central Link.

Tacoma Link connects the city's Theater District, Convention Center, Union Station (a former train station now serving as a federal courthouse), and Tacoma Dome area.

Central Link runs between downtown Seattle and the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The initial section opened on July 18, 2009.[4] The initial section runs through the Seattle's SoDo neighborhood, Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, and portions of Tukwila. On December 19, 2009, the line was extended to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport through Tukwila and SeaTac.

Under Construction[edit]

University Link is a 3.5-mile (5.6 km) extension of the Link Light Rail system that is currently under construction. Construction on the line began on March 6, 2009, and is scheduled to be complete by 2016. The line will be underground for its entire route, and will connect downtown Seattle to the University of Washington via Capitol Hill. The cost of the extension is about $1.9 billion with half of the funding expected to come from a grant from the Federal Transit Administration.

South Link[5] is a 1.6-mile (2.6 km) extension of the Link Light Rail system that is currently under construction. Construction on the line began in May 2013, and is scheduled to be complete by 2018. The line will be aerial for its entire route, and will connect Seattle–Tacoma International Airport to a new parking garage at South 200th Street in SeaTac. The cost of the extension is about $383 million with funding expected coming from to come from a grant from the Federal Transit Administration, WSDOT, and Puget Sound Regional Council.


Northgate Link Extension, an expansion of the Link Light Rail system from the University of Washington to Northgate, was approved by voters in November 2008. Although Sound Transit is currently developing the schedule for final design and construction, it had already finished the North Link's Final Environmental Impact Statement as of April 2006. The light rail line will link the University of Washington station to Brooklyn and Roosevelt, finally terminating at the Northgate Transit Center. The Northgate station would further provide access to the Northgate Mall and Lynnwood, via the Lynnwood Link Extension Project. This line is expected to be completed by 2021, following the completion of the University Link in 2016.[6]

The South Corridor HCT (High Capacity Transit) Project is expected to extend Link Light Rail from the planned S. 200th Street stop to Redondo/Star Lake, in a plan approved by the region's voters in November 2008. The project would add 4.8-mile (7.7 km) of track with stations at Highline Community College and Redondo/Star Lake. As the cost estimates have not yet been considered, the line is expected to be a primarily aerial line along SR 99. Final alignment and station designs are to be determined through the project level design and environmental review.[7]

Similarly, the Lynnwood Link Extension Project is expected to extend the line from the future Nortgate stop to Lynnwood, via stations at NE 145th Street, NE 185th Street, and Mountlake Terrace. However the Lynnwood Link Extension Project will rely primarily on federal grant money, for which Sound Transit still will need to complete the Alternative Analysis stage to qualify. Although this also means that the stations can be changed to reflect a number of scenarios, the Link Light Rail line is expected to be elevated.[8]

The Tacoma Link Expansion Project[9] is currently under study to extend the current Tacoma Link light rail from the Theater District Station to St. Joseph Hospital, via Wright Park and Tacoma General Hospital along Stadium Way, Division Street, and Martin Luther King Jr Way.[10]

Commuter rail[edit]

Main article: Sounder Commuter Rail

Sounder Commuter Rail, a commuter rail service between Everett and Seattle, and between Seattle and Tacoma is operated by BNSF Railway on Sound Transit's behalf. There are currently 7 peak-direction and 2 reverse commute round-trips daily between Tacoma and Seattle and 4 peak-direction round trips between Everett and Seattle. Sound Transit will eventually run up to 18 daily round-trips from Tacoma once all trackwork is completed by BNSF Railway. In 2012 service was extended to serve south Tacoma and Lakewood stations.

Current stations are:

Everett Station

Sound Transit 2[edit]

2007 Vote[edit]

Sound Transit 2 (ST2) was part of a joint ballot measure with the Regional Transportation Investment District entitled Roads and Transit, which was presented to Snohomish, King, and Pierce county voters on November 6, 2007. Sound Transit 2 would have made a number of mass transit related improvements.[11] These changes included almost 50 miles (80 km) in new light rail lines, four new parking garages, two new Sounder stations, a streetcar line connecting First Hill, Capitol Hill, and the International District, a transit center in Bothell, and two expansion studies, one for studying rapid transit across the SR-520 floating bridge and the other studying the use of the Woodinville Subdivision between Renton and Woodinville.[12] The ballot measure was defeated by voters.[13]

2008 Vote[edit]

The Sound Transit Board on July 24, 2008 voted to put a reduced Sound Transit 2 plan before voters. It passed by large margins (58% to 42%) on November 4, 2008.[14][15] The financial plan for the measure shows $17.8 billion expenditure over 15 years, funded with a 5-10% rise in the regional general sales tax, which essentially doubles Sound Transit's revenue. Central Link Light Rail will be extended from the currently funded northern terminus at Husky Stadium north to Lynnwood. To the south, the tracks will continue from the current southern terminus at Sea-Tac Airport to the northern edge of Federal Way. The proposed East Link Light Rail will depart from Downtown Seattle and end in Overlake via Bellevue. A First Hill Connector (streetcar) is proposed from Central Link's Capitol Hill Station to the Jackson Street terminus of the former Waterfront Streetcar. In total, 36 miles (58 km) of new two-way light rail track were approved by this measure.[16]

Sounder Commuter Rail will receive longer and more frequent trains, for a 30% increase in service. Express Bus service will be immediately boosted (17% increase in service; 25 additional buses) and Washington State Route 520 will receive a Bus Rapid Transit line. A new commuter rail line is proposed to run from North Renton to Snohomish if additional funding beyond the Sound Transit taxes is secured.[17]


Sounder Commuter Rail
Manufacturer Model Length Passengers Purchased Qty Fleet Numbers
Sdrx908.jpg EMD F59PHI, 3000 horsepower 58'-7" N/A 1999 11[18] 901-911
SDRX105.jpg Bombardier Bi-Level Cab Car 85' 136 (seated) 1999 18[18] 101 - 118
SDRX228.jpg Bombardier Bi-Level Coach 85' 140 (seated) 1999 40[18] 201 - 240
Link Light Rail
Manufacturer and model Motor Length Passengers
Purchased Qty Fleet Numbers
Tacoma Link.jpg Škoda 10 T 750V-DC Electric Traction 66' 56 (30/26) 2001 3 1001-1003[19]
Sound Transit Link Light Rail Train.jpg Kinki Sharyo Mitsui 1500V-DC Electric Traction 95' 200 (74/126) 2007 35 101-135[20]
2011 27 136-162[21]
ST Express Buses
Manufacturer and model Motor Length Passengers Purchased Qty Fleet Numbers
Sound Transit Gillig Phantom 9105-P.jpg Gillig Phantom Cummins ISM 40' 45 (seated) 2001 62 9070-9089
Cummins ISL 2005 9090-9091[22]
2008 9092-9121
Sound Transit D60LF 9536-K.jpg New Flyer D60LF Detroit Diesel Series 50[23] 60' 60 (seated) 1999 15 9505-9519
2000 12 9525-9536
Caterpillar C9[23] 2004 16 9537-9552[23]
Sound Transit C40LF 9400-P.jpg New Flyer C40LF Cummins Westport C-Gas Plus[24] 40' 39 (seated) 2001 20 9400-9419[24]
Sound Transit 9200.jpg New Flyer DE40LF Cummins ISL 40' 37 (seated) 2003 1[25] 9200[26]
Sound Transit New Flyer DE60LF.jpg New Flyer DE60LF Caterpillar C9 / GM-Allison EP50 [27] 60' 57 (seated) 2004 22[25] 9600-9621[28]
Cummins ISL / GM-Allison EP50 2008 2[25] 9622-9623
2009 13 [25] 9624-9636
Sound Transit MCI.jpg Motor Coach Industries D4500CL Detroit Diesel Series 60 EGR[29] 45'[29] 60 (seated) 2005 13[30] 9700-9712
Cummins ISM 2008 7[31] 9713-9719
2009 3[31] 9720-9722
2010 17[31] 9723-9739
Sound Transit New Flyer D60LFR 9557C.jpg New Flyer D60LFR Cummins ISL9 60' 56 (seated)[32] 2010 13[33] 9553-9565
2011 31[34] 9566-9596
2012 14 9800-9813
2012 5 51214-51218
Sound Transit DE60LFR.jpg New Flyer DE60LFR Cummins ISL9 / Allison H 50 EP 60' 56 (seated) 2010 15[33] 9637-9647
2011 4[31] 9648-9651
Sound Transit Gillig BRT bus 9205 in downtown Seattle (2014).jpg Gillig BRT Hybrid Cummins ISL9 / Allison H 40 EP 40' 37 (seated)[35] 2012 22[35] 9201-9222
Gillig BRT Cummins ISL9 2012 2[31] 9122-9123
2014 3[31] 9124-9126
New Flyer Xcelsior XDE60 Cummins ISL9 / Allison H 50 EP 60' 2014 8[31] 9652-9659
2014 7[31] 61401- 61407
New Flyer Xcelsior XD60 Cummins ISL9 60' 2014 4[31] 9814-9817
2014 3[31] 51401-51403
Alexander Dennis Enviro500 Cummins ISM 42' 2015 5[31] 91501-91505


King County Sheriff's Office patrol car in Sound Transit Police livery.

Sound Transit contracts with the King County Sheriff's Office for police services. Deputies assigned to Sound Transit wear Sound Transit uniforms and drive patrol cars marked with the Sound Transit logo. There is currently one chief, one captain, five sergeants, four detectives, 23 patrol officers, and a crime analyst[36] assigned full-time to Sound Transit.

Sound Transit officers patrol Sound Transit property around Puget Sound including vehicles (trains & buses) and stations.

Board of Directors[edit]

Sound Transit is governed by an 18-member Board of Directors, which sets policies and provides direction to the CEO and staff.[37] By state law, the board includes the Washington State Secretary of Transportation and the King, Pierce, and Snohomish County Executives. These three executives also appoint other elected officials from their counties to the remaining seats on the board.[38] For 2014, the board members are:[39]

Member Position Notes
Claudia Balducci Mayor of Bellevue
Fred Butler Issaquah City Council President
Dow Constantine King County Executive Board Chair
Dave Earling Mayor of Edmonds
Dave Enslow Mayor of Sumner
John Lovick Snohomish County Executive
John Marchione Mayor of Redmond
Pat McCarthy Pierce County Executive Past Board Chair
Joe McDermott King County Councilmember
Mary Moss Lakewood City Councilmember
Ed Murray Mayor of Seattle
Mike O'Brien Seattle City Councilmember
Lynn Peterson Secretary of Transportation
Larry Phillips King County Council Chairman
Paul Roberts Everett City Councilmember Board Vice Chair
Marilyn Strickland Mayor of Tacoma Board Vice Chair
Dave Upthegrove King County Councilmember
Pete von Reichbauer King County Councilmember

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Sound Transit marks 10 years of serving customers". Sound Transit. 2009-09-18. Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ "Regional Transit System Planning". Sound Transit. Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
  4. ^ Lindblom, Mike (2009-04-20). "Light rail to open July 18". The Seattle Times. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Northgate Link Extension". Sound Transit Projects. Sound Transit. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "South Corridor HCT Project". Sound Transit Projects. Sound Transit. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  8. ^ "Lynnwood Link Extension Project". Sound Transit Projects. Sound Transit. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Larry Lange (2007-04-26). "Sound Transit expansion ballot-bound". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2007-04-27. 
  12. ^ "Sound Transit completes major transit expansion package for November Roads & Transit vote". Sound Transit. 2007-04-26. Retrieved 2007-04-27. 
  13. ^ Larry Lange (2007-11-07). "Proposition 1: Voters hit the brakes". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2007-11-07. 
  14. ^ Lindblom, Mike. "Sound Transit calls Prop. 1 a gift "to our grandchildren"" 5 Nov. 2008. Seattle Times. <>.
  15. ^ "Election 2008 | Complete results — Ballot measures". The Seattle Times. 5 November 2008. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  16. ^ "Sound Transit System Expansion -- News Release". Sound Transit. 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2008-09-17. 
  17. ^ "Sound Transit System Expansion -- What's Proposed". Sound Transit. 2008-08-08. Archived from the original on 2008-08-22. Retrieved 2008-09-17. 
  18. ^ a b c "Sounder Commuter Rail Train Specifications". Sound Transit. Retrieved 2007-06-28. 
  19. ^ "Tacoma Link Light Rail Train Specifications". Sound Transit. Retrieved 2007-06-28. 
  20. ^ "Link Light Rail Train Specifications". Sound Transit. Retrieved 2007-06-28. 
  21. ^ "2010 Service Implementation Plan (Draft)" (PDF). Sound Transit. 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  22. ^ "ST Express 40-foot Diesel Bus Specifications (Gillig)". Sound Transit. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  23. ^ a b c "ST Express 60-foot Diesel Low Floor Bus Specifications (New Flyer)". Sound Transit. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  24. ^ a b "ST Express 40-foot CNG Bus Specifications (New Flyer)". Sound Transit. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  25. ^ a b c d "MOTION NO. M2009-15: Contract with New Flyer Corporation" (PDF). Sound Transit. 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  26. ^ "ST Express 40-foot Diesel-Electric Hybrid Bus Specifications (New Flyer)". Sound Transit. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  27. ^ "Hybrid Vehicle Specifications". New Flyer Industries, Inc. Archived from the original on 2007-04-16. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  28. ^ "New Flyer Articulated Hybrid Diesel-Electric Bus". Sound Transit. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  29. ^ a b "ST Express 45-foot Long-Haul Bus Specifications (MCI)". Sound Transit. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  30. ^ "MOTION NO. M2009-09: Contract with Motor Coach Industries" (PDF). Sound Transit. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Draft 2015 Service Implementation Plan - Appendix B: Fleet Plans". Sound Transit. p. 111. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  32. ^ "Sound Transit: Sound Transit board approves purchase of clean diesel and hybrid buses". Sound Transit. 2011-02-24. Retrieved 2011-02-24. 
  33. ^ a b "MOTION NO. M2010-01: ST Express Bus Procurement – ST2 Expansion Service" (PDF). Sound Transit. 2010-01-14. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  34. ^ "MOTION NO. M2011-05 Purchase 10 Sixty-Foot Replacement Buses" (PDF). Sound Transit. 2011-02-24. Retrieved 2011-02-25. 
  35. ^ a b "MOTION NO. M2011-04 Purchase 24 Forty-Foot Replacement Buses" (PDF). Sound Transit. 2011-02-24. Retrieved 2011-02-25. 
  36. ^ Earl, Joni (2010-02-26). "Sound Transit: CEO Corner". Archived from the original on 2010-02-26. Retrieved 2010-02-26. 
  37. ^ "Sound Transit: Board of Directors". Sound Transit. Retrieved 2014-02-07. 
  38. ^ "RCW 81.112.040". State of Washington. 
  39. ^ "Sound Transit: Board of Directors". Sound Transit. Retrieved 2014-02-07. 

External links[edit]