On Track

Back in May, I wrote about California’s High Speed Rail Authority. At the time, I didn’t know when the project would be on the ballot down there. Well, it turns out, it was on the ballot yesterday and it passed! The ballot measure, officially titled the “Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act” authorizes the state to issue $9.95 billion in bonds to fund the project. Wow. Of course, I’ll be 60 before the project will be done, but so be it.

Closer to home, voters here in the Puget Sound area passed the ”Sound Transit 2” measure yesterday. ST2 extends the Link Light Rail line north to Lynnwood, South to Federal Way, and East across Lake Washington to Bellevue and Redmond. It also funds a huge increase in regional bus service, 65% increase in Sounder commuter rail (“heavy rail”) capacity, and, like icing on the cake, a 2-mile streetcar line downtown. Whee!

I should mention that the first stretch of Link light rail approved by voters back in 1996 is scheduled to open in the summer of 2009 (they started testing earlier this year). This first line runs from downtown Seattle almost to SeaTac Airport. The extension to the airport is scheduled to open toward the end of next year. An extension north from downtown to the University of Washington is scheduled to begin construction this year and open in 2016. Is that really only 8 years away?