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Sound Transit Board approves $2.9 billion budget for 2019

Sound Transit. (Sound Transit photo)

The Sound Transit Board approved its $2.9 billion 2019 budget Thursday, with an especial focus on system expansion.

RELATED: Sound Transit gets $1.2 billion of fed money for Lynnwood line

The budget hones in on voter-approved transit projects, including the light rail extensions for Lynnwood, Federal Way, and downtown Redmond.

“During 2019 commuters will see major progress building the 116-mile light rail system that the region’s voters approved, along with continuing work to open two new bus rapid transit lines and improve our Sounder system,” said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff.

$2.4 billion of the 2019 budget will be put toward “capital projects,” including “continued progress” toward light rail stations in Northgate in 2021, Hilltop Tacoma Link in 2022, and East Link in 2023.

Light rail is currently “on track” for Lynnwood, Federal Way, and downtown Redmond in 2024.

Additional investments include $345.4 million for transit operations, $24 million for transit system access and technology projects, and $86.2 million for regional express bus service.

Earlier Thursday, Sound Transit was approved for a $1.2 billion federal grant to complete the over-budget Lynnwood light rail extension.

This comes the year after the light rail expansion to both Lynwood and Federal Way went hundreds of millions of dollars over budget.

Other controversy this year has included a potential $16,000 bonus for Rogoff, and Sound Transit installing the wrong escalators at UW’s light rail station. That led to frequent break-downs and malfunctions, costing more than $20 million in replacements.

A full copy of the approved 2019 budget will be available on Sound Transit’s website.

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