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Sound Transit Board elects King County Executive Dow Constantine as chair

King County Executive Dow Constantine - Reporter file photo
King County Executive Dow Constantine
— image credit: Reporter file photo

The following is a release from Sound Transit:

The Sound Transit Board of Directors unanimously elected King County Executive Dow Constantine to serve as chair for the next two years starting Jan. 1. Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland and Everett City Councilmember Paul Roberts will serve as vice chairs.

“It’s an honor to succeed chair Pat McCarthy as we take on the work ahead,” said Constantine. “We must keep University Link on track to open earlier than planned, and keep the extensions of light rail pushing forward on time and on budget. The update of our Long Range Plan will also inform how we deliver high-capacity transit throughout the Puget Sound region.”

Sound Transit is focusing on delivering all but two out of more than 30 miles of Sound Transit 2 light rail expansions by 2023 despite a 29 percent funding reduction created by the national recession. In 2014 crews will begin tunneling largest construction contract in its history: continuing further north in a tunnel beneath Seattle’s University of Washington and Roosevelt areas to Northgate. In 2015 Sound Transit will begin construction of the East Link light rail extension to Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond, while closing in on extending current Link light rail service one stop further south from the airport, to South 200th Street. The agency is working to establish final routes for extending light rail to the Lynnwood and Kent/Des Moines areas, and further south to Federal Way subject to identifying funding.

Meanwhile, the Board will explore long-term expansion priorities, including the details and timing of a potential Sound Transit 3 ballot measure that responds to expected population growth of nearly 30 percent by 2035.

The Sound Transit Board praised its outgoing chair, Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, for her leadership.

“It has been a pleasure to serve as Sound Transit board chair these past two years,” McCarthy said. “As the region has painstakingly climbed out of a deep recession, Sound Transit has made exciting progress on its projects and services, including the anticipated early opening of University Link in two years and continuing growth in ridership. I am pleased to pass the baton to the capable hands of Executive Constantine and look forward to continuing to serve on the board.”

Roberts’ reappointment as vice chair continues his service in that role since May. Strickland will replace outgoing vice chair Julia Patterson, who is retiring from elected office. Board members praised Patterson’s contributions during 24 years of public service, including 12 years on the Sound Transit Board.

“I am honored to serve in this leadership role as we continue to expand our regional transit system,” said Strickland. “Our riders are relying on us to strengthen local and federal partnerships so we can deliver and connect high capacity transit to the South Sound.

The Sound Transit Board also recognized outgoing boardmembers Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin for their years of service and hard work in advancing the mission of the agency during their tenure.

Each day, 100,000 riders in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties depend on Sound Transit trains and buses to reach their destinations. Third quarter 2013 ridership increased 10 percent from the same period last year.

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