Sound Transit says University Link may open early, after a decade of delay

December 12, 2013

In 1996, voters approved Sound Transit’s 10 year plan for a light rail system that would stretch from Seatac to the University of Washington. In 2009, thirteen years later, the initial segment opened from Seatac to Downtown Seattle. The 3.1 mile light rail connector from Downtown to the University, called University Link, is planned to open in 2016.  

Despite a decade of delay, Sound Transit claims that University Link will be completed “early and under budget.” But that is because Sound Transit moved the goal posts. To be fair, Sound Transit admitted years ago that planned projects were experiencing cost overruns and delay. However, Sound Transit officials continue to use language that misleads the public (see below):

Sound Transit officials have already spent over $3.8 billion on light rail construction, far higher than the $1.38 billion (1995 dollars) promised to taxpayers. By the time the line is connected, Sound Transit will spend close to $5 billion for light rail from Seatac to the U.W.

Taxpayers are paying billions for light rail and expect to receive what they are promised. Sound Transit officials should provide factual information on cost overruns and delays to taxpayers instead of smoke and mirrors.