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Thursday, June 1, 2023
June 1, 2023

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Sound Transit releases options for light rail


SEATTLE — A second downtown light-rail tunnel could be the centerpiece of a possible 25-year, $27 billion Sound Transit package on next fall’s ballot.

The agency Friday released 15-year, 20-year, and 25-year construction options. Each requires the same $200 a year per adult in tax increases, for urban parts of Snohomish, King and Pierce counties.

The most expensive option would collect $27 billion in new taxes through 2041 to deliver light rail to Everett, Tacoma, Redmond, Issaquah, Kirkland, Ballard and West Seattle.

That’s about twice what the agency sought in the Legislature this year, by asking for $15 billion in tax authority in a 15-year plan.

Early estimates indicate the network would attract perhaps 50,000 train riders in the Lynnwood-Everett stretch, more than 40,000 in West Seattle, around 50,000 in Federal Way and Tacoma, and maybe 55,000 in Ballard-Uptown.

Less expensive options may not build all the lines.

State law passed this year allows the ballot measure to raise the agency’s sales tax, now 90 cents per $100 purchase, by an additional 50 cents per $100; enact a new property tax of $25 per $100,000 of assessed value; and raise the agency’s car-tab tax of $30 per $10,000 vehicle value to $80.