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Joint Statement from Mayor Bruce Harrell, Council President Debora Juarez, and Council Transportation Committee Chair Alex Pedersen on Sound Transit Board Adoption of Motion 2022-57  

Today we applaud the unanimous adoption of Sound Transit Motion 2022-57, a critical milestone for the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions (WSBLE) project. This action selects a preferred route and station locations for portions of the WSBLE project and requests additional studies to inform decisions for the remaining stations. The motion is compatible with Joint Resolution 32055, adopted unanimously by City Council and signed by the Mayor early this month, that put forward a City position on WSBLE, based on years of engagement and consensus building with Sound Transit and other partner agencies, and community members and stakeholders across the projected alignment.  

We thank the Sound Transit Board and staff, as well as the countless community members, our City Council and stakeholders who devoted time and expertise to get us here. This motion allows Sound Transit, the City of Seattle, and other partners to take the time needed to listen to community members and understand their needs. Creating clarity in what we see as the most successful path for WSBLE in Seattle will help streamline moving the project forward quickly and efficiently – providing a path for agreement upfront on which alternatives have the most potential for success.   

While we join with our partners in celebrating this milestone, there is tremendous work ahead, including: 

  • Additional study and community engagement that responds to the Chinatown-International District community’s requests for solutions that provide meaningful benefit to the local community without disparate harm and impacts. This process will necessarily include looking at new refinements in a transparent process with community and the City is dedicated to supporting this effort.  
  • West Seattle Link Extension segments of Duwamish Water Crossing, Delridge, and West Seattle Junction to proceed in engineering, design, and permitting. We will continue to partner with Sound Transit to ensure the project avoids or mitigates displacement of businesses or residences and minimizes environmental impacts. 
  • Additional due diligence of alternatives in SODO that would improve pedestrian safety, create new employment transit-oriented development opportunity, and minimize impacts to local businesses.  
  • Additional study of “mix-and-match” refinements to the Downtown tunnel alignment to optimize access and minimize impacts to lead to better outcomes for the region’s fastest growing job center of South Lake Union and the region’s highest volume destination of Seattle Center
  • Additional study of refinements in the South Interbay and Interbay-Ballard segments to avoid impacts to steep slope, transportation, and properties, and improve safe pedestrian access to stations.  

We also know that Sound Transit has real financial challenges in delivering all of Sound Transit 3 (ST3). With our partners, the City anticipates a role facilitating third-party funding and financing strategies to help Sound Transit address its costs. Over the next year we will be developing these strategies, in step with the additional community work described above, and with Sound Transit’s completion of the environmental analysis and Final Environmental Impact Statement, which is critical to define potential impacts and what mitigations are required from Sound Transit. Ultimately, we anticipate an agreement with Sound Transit that details third-party funding commitments as part of their final actions to confirm a direction for the WSBLE project late next year.  

WSBLE is one of the largest infrastructure projects in our region’s history. We are excited to be a partner in moving this project forward—not only for Seattle’s residents who overwhelmingly supported the 2016 ST3 ballot measure, but also for the entire region that will gain new transit connections to job centers, housing opportunities, and destinations including Downtown Seattle, South Lake Union, Seattle Center, and our fast-growing neighborhoods of Ballard and West Seattle. WSBLE is an example of how we’re moving forward as One Seattle, and the City of Seattle is a committed partner to Sound Transit for the planning, permitting, and delivery of this transformative project.