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Blame home prices for Sound Transit’s over-budget Lynnwood line


In August, it was reported that the Sound Transit light rail extension to Lynnwood is more than $500 million in the red.

Though labor and material costs were attributed to the project running over budget, the main reason, it turns out, is our region’s housing market.

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Sound Transit has to buy some properties near the planned light rail route. The prices of those homes near the future tracks have gone up by 44 percent, throwing off the entire budget, KIRO Radio’s Chris Sullivan reports.

The previous budget estimate for the project was $2.4 billion. It now stands at approximately $2.9 billion.

The big question is, how can Sound Transit make up that gap? The Seattle Times reports the transit agency has come up with nearly 250 small project cuts to make up for the increased budget, but those changes only amount to just over $300 million.

The Lynnwood extension is already six months behind schedule. Service is not set to begin until 2024. Voters approved the 8.5-mile light rail project from Seattle to Lynnwood in 2008.

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