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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, May 11, 2009

Seattle Times: Creative tunnel vision for light rail

Digital simiulation by Sound Transit of an underground light rail stop in Bellevue. In an editorial Sunday, the Seattle Times said Sound Transit should continue to consider a tunnel option for the Eastside light rail line when it passes through downtown. Sound Transit's board of directors this week will choose which routes should be studied for East Link, an 18-mile extension of light rail from Seattle through Mercer Island and Bellevue to Redmond. 

In the editorial -- "Bellevue's creative tunnel vision" -- the Times noted that Bellevue's "unusual street grids will provide challenges in moving people through the downtown core to Interstate 405. The surface option would have light-rail trains crossing two major arterials, Northeast Fourth and Northeast Eighth streets, every nine minutes during rush hour."

In an opinion piece published in the Times today, Mayor Grant Degginger asserts that Sound Transit's preliminary engineering studies should continue to include tunnel options and not focus just on a street-level alignment. "It's imperative Sound Transit's board conduct additional engineering study on both tunnel options, especially with regard to costs, benefits and impacts of each."

In Mayor Degginger's editorial, "An East Link tunnel won't choke off Bellevue downtown," he pointed out, "While the street-level alignment option may appear most attractive because of its lower construction costs, information suggests the route may be seriously flawed."


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