Ballard and Magnolia residents want expensive add-ons to Sound Transit ballot

Now that they’ve seen Sound Transit’s expansion proposal for the November ballot, people from Seattle’s Ballard and Magnolia neighborhoods are demanding a quicker and more expensive light-rail connection to downtown. This would include a tunnel beneath Salmon Bay instead of a 70-foot-high drawbridge and elevated tracks west of 15th Avenue West in Interbay, instead of tracks in the median. A tunnel and elevated tracks would add about $600 million, a draft comparison shows.

“Doing something that’s dramatically more expensive will bump against the financial capacity we have to build out the whole system — the goal of both West Seattle and Ballard in the same ballot measure,” Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff said in an interview.

The Sound Transit 3 proposal — now being aired in public forums before a final plan is set for the ballot in June — calls for a $50 billion, 25-year program for construction, trains, buses and maintenance, including suburban light-rail extensions to Everett, Redmond, Issaquah and Tacoma via Federal Way, using new and existing taxes. If approved, the increases in property, sales and car-tab taxes would average $400 per household per year.

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