Thursday, April 19, 2012

Port of Seattle Completes Land Sale

The Port of Seattle has finalized the sale of mile of a former BNSF track in Bellevue to the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority for the construction of a light rail project.

The Transit Authority, commonly known as Sound Transit, also receives easements for future access to 37 miles of the planned Eastside rail corridor under the deal.

“By partnering with agencies like Sound Transit, the port has been able to protect a rail corridor that could prove crucial to the region’s future growth,” Port of Seattle Commission President Gael Tarleton said in a statement announcing the sale’s finalization.

Sound Transit is paying the port $13.8 million under the agreement in order to start work on the East Link light rail.

The 37-mile easement gives Sound Transit the ability to consider future voter-approved rail transit investments between Woodinville and Renton. Sound Transit would need to build new tracks to support the safety features and operating speeds needed for passenger rail service.

In addition to the easement, Sound Transit also received rights to access the portion of the rail corridor located within Redmond’s city limits, allowing for future construction of a light rail extension between the city’s Overlake and downtown areas.

“This transaction not only acquires essential property for East Link, but secures easements that could reduce the costs of future transit expansions,” Sound Transit Board Chair and Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy said.