According to KUOW.org, Seattle, Washington recently extended light rail service 3.15 miles through two of the city’s most popular neighborhoods. The $1.9 billion project opened Sound Transit stations at Husky Stadium and Capitol Hill in mid-March. The city aspires to add 71,000 new riders to the system by 2030.
“No matter how bad the traffic is, no matter what time of day,” said Sound Transit spokesperson Bruce Gray. “It’s gonna be a huge game-changer for the region as far as getting around here.”
The project recently made headlines for being on-time and under budget. The March opening was achieved 6 months ahead of schedule and nearly $100 million under budget. This is a crowning achievement for a city haunted by public transit project woes – a tunnel boring machine named ‘Bertha’ had its fair share of troubles and press during its deployment.
KUOW reporter Joshua Nichols was among the many media representatives along for a test ride to and from the new stations and was able to snag an interview with Bonnie Todd, the executive director of operations for Sound Transit:
Todd: “I’m Bonnie Todd, I’m the executive director of operations for Sound Transit.”
KUOW: “What does this moment mean for you?”
Todd: “Well, it’s pretty amazing. It’s the culmination of just so much work. I’m very excited, very, very excited. And I’m very happy for the people of the region. It’s definitely gonna increase mobility.
KUOW: “Oh, we’re speeding up.”
Todd: “Isn’t that smooth?”
The trip from Capitol Hill station to Husky Stadium station – the northern most end of the light rail system thus far – took the reporter approximately 4 minutes.
However, this is not the end of the line – at least not permanently. The system will continue expanding to the University District, Roosevelt and Northgate.
King County Executive Dow Constantine said:
It is remarkable to see that and realize that even as we speak, there is an intrepid little tunnel boring machine working its way toward us.