[nfbwatlk] FW: Sound Transit CEO Report

Jacob Struiksma lawnmower84 at hotmail.com
Sat Dec 18 09:06:18 UTC 2010


Joni Earl, CEO 


Board approves realignment, budget

Joe McDermott joins the Board 

Bond rating news 

Ridership report 

Thanks for your patience 


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Board approves realignment, budget

The Sound Transit Board on Thursday approved the agency's 2011 budget, and a
long-term plan that outlines how the available funding for our projects
should be allocated and managed.

You've heard the story. Because of the projected $3.9 billion revenue loss
resulting from the prolonged national economic recession, we don't have
enough revenue to complete all elements of the ST2 program by 2023 as
originally planned. So, the Sound Transit staff and Board have been working
since last summer on a "program realignment" plan for the remaining revenue.

The plan approved Thursday recommends proceeding with most projects. It also
recommends limited funding or suspended activities on a few projects, but
does not propose deleting any. The agency has also cut project reserves,
eliminated discretionary programs and is cutting service on ST Express low
ridership or underperforming routes. 

The new long-terms plans include:

. Opening light rail from UW to Northgate by 2021.
. Opening light rail from Northgate to Lynnwood by 2023.
. Opening light rail between Seattle and Overlake by 2021.
. Working with the City of Seattle to open the First Hill Streetcar in
Seattle by late 2013.
. Continuing studies to open light rail from SeaTac to South 200th Street by
2016, which is earlier than planned.
. Studying better access options to mass transit in South King and Pierce

The Board will continually monitor agency revenues and could adjust
timelines as projects move through environmental studies and final design

The Board on Thursday also approved the agency's 2011 budget. The $1.09
billion budget for next year includes spending $187.1 million to deliver our
bus and train service, $744.6 million for continued delivery of capital
projects and $160 million for Sound Transit Agency administration.

Joe McDermott joins the Board 

King County Councilmember Joe McDermott has joined the Sound Transit Board.
Mr. McDermott was appointed to our Board by King County Executive Dow
Constantine. He replaces Jan Drago. 

Before joining the King County Council last month, Mr. McDermott was in the
State Legislature the last 10 years, including the State Senate since 2007.
He has been a Senior Budget Analyst with the Seattle School District and
worked for John Ladenburg, our former Board Chair and former Pierce County
Prosecuting Attorney. 

We're very pleased to have his experience and expertise on the Board.

Bond rating news 

We just received some great news on our bond rating. Moody's Investor
Service has affirmed its Aa1 and Aa2 ratings for all outstanding Sound
Transit senior and parity bonds.

The news is significant, especially in this economic environment where the
ratings of many transit agencies across the country have been downgraded
because of revenue challenges and declining financial stability.

The investor service cited our Board and leadership team's proactive
management of the agency's forecasted $3.9 billion in revenue shortfall, the
flexibility built into our mass transit capital program, and the ability of
our financial plan to weather economic uncertainties. 

Moody's also identified the agency's high debt service coverage ratios as a
demonstration of Sound Transit's short- and long-term financial strength.

Ridership report 

The economic recession, stable gas prices and less freeway congestion
appears to be impacting transit ridership.

Our third quarter numbers show that total ridership for our trains and buses
was up 14 percent from the same time a year ago. However, nearly all of that
growth was from Link light rail and paratransit, which was just getting
started in the third quarter of 2009.

Together, our trains and buses had average weekday boardings of 75,000 in
the third quarter of this year.

. ST Express bus boardings were down 5 percent for the quarter, compared to
a year earlier.
. Sounder weekly boardings, including special event service trains, were
down 8 percent overall.
. Central Link boardings were up considerably, with daily ridership reaching
nearly 24,000.
. Tacoma Link boardings increased 8 percent. 

Thanks for your patience 

Just a quick thank you to our riders.

This was a bad week of weather and a mudslide halted our north line Sounder
trains all day Monday and Tuesday morning. We directed our Sounder riders to
special and regular bus service during the closure.

We appreciate your continued ridership-and your patience.

The Sound Transit Board on Thursday: 

*	Adopted the Sound Transit 2011 State Legislative Program and
directed staff to continue to evaluate issues for impact to the agency as it
continues to successfully implement the regional transportation system. 
*	Amended the Adopted 2010 Budget for Service Delivery capital from
$29,597,945 to $67,547,945 by 1) increasing the ST Express Fleet Expansion
Project budget from $11,700,000 to $32,760.000 and 2) increasing the ST
Express Fleet Replacement Project budget from $0 to $16,890,000. 
*	Amended the lease with the City of Auburn to reduce the number of
parking spaces in Sound Transit's Auburn Parking Garage, exclusively leased
to the City, by 138 for a remaining total of 42 leased spaces in exchange
for Sound Transit's payment of $1,329,713. 

All rights reserved Sound Transit 2010 

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