Transportation is critical to the business community and a top civic issue for the Federal Way Chamber. Connecting our workforce to east-west employment opportunities, as well as business possibilities along the north-south corridor ensures the greater Federal Way area remains economically viable.
Major Milestone Reached. On July 23, The Sound Transit Board identified a preferred alternative to extend light rail to Kent/Des Moines by 2023 and to Federal Way when more funding is secured. The alignment would start from the Angle Lake Station and travel south along Interstate-5. In the Kent/ Des Moines area, the alignment would transition west of 30th Ave S. The alignment would then continue south along I-5 with stations at the S 272nd Star Lake Park and Ride and the Federal Way Transit Center.
What Does this Milestone Mean? Identification of the Preferred Alternative is not the final decision. Over the next several months, Sound Transit will advance design of the Preferred Alternative and refine the environmental impact analysis. These findings will be published in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) expected in late 2016. Then, Sound Transit will select a project to build and the Federal Transit Administration will issue a Record of Decision (ROD) completing the federal environmental review process.
The Federal Way Link Extension is part of the voter approved Sound Transit 2 (ST2) plan to extend mass transit throughout the region. This project will extend light rail from the Angle Lake Station, opening in 2016, in SeaTac to Kent/Des Moines by 2023. It will also develop a shovel-ready plan to reach the Federal Way Transit Center when additional funding is secured.
The Federal Way Link Extension project will extend light rail from the Angle Lake Station at South 200th in SeaTac (opening in 2016) to Kent/Des Moines by 2023 and to Federal Way when more funding is secured.
Sound Transit recently conducted an environmental review of the project. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS) is now available for public review and comment. It provides information about route and station options on SR 99 and I-5 and how the project could benefit and impact the community and environment. Public comments will help the Board of Directors identify a preferred alternative this summer. The corridor is about 7.6 miles long and parallels SR 99 and Interstate 5.
Public transportation in our region is preparing for the future. King County Metro Transit is looking ahead to make sure it can provide the right mix of services and connections to get people where they need to go as our communities grow. At the same time, Sound Transit will be engaging with residents as it develops a system plan for a proposed ballot measure.
Why develop a long-range plan? Consider this: By 2040, another 360,000 people will be living in King County – more than half of Seattle’s current population. An estimated 50 percent of all transit trips in the county will be taken on a Metro bus. That means the system of our future will need to support:
- A nearly 50 percent increase in riders commuting 30 minutes or less to jobs concentrated in growth centers all across the county. By contrast, the percentage of people commuting to work by car is expected to grow by just 20 percent by 2040. Without planning, there may not be the right mix of transit services available to get people to their jobs.
- More commute trips being taken by people living outside the city of Seattle. That means there will be a need to grow transit across the county to meet demand.
- An estimated 2.3 million additional annual service hours – or more than 700,000 daily weekday boardings – on King County Metro services by 2040.