Light-rail measure headed to voters

SEATTLE – A package of transit projects that aims to bring light rail to Lynnwood is headed to voters this November, the Sound Transit Board of Directors decided this afternoon.

The 15-year plan, which would raise $17.8 billion for transit, received 16 yes votes among the 18 board members. The measure needed at least 12 votes to pass.

In addition to extending light rail to Lynnwood, the plan is expected to increase bus service by about 30 percent in Snohomish County.

Additional bus service should give relief for commuters struggling with high gas prices, said Edmonds City Councilwoman Deanna Dawson, a Sound Transit Board member.

“It’s time to put this plan in front of voters,” Dawson said.

The plan’s cost estimate includes inflation. The measure will need a majority vote to pass in November in the Sound Transit District, which stretches over Snohomish, King and Pierce counties, If approved, the package should result in a new sales tax hike – 5 cents on a $10 purchase.

The plan is expected to improve bus, train and light rail systems in the three counties. In 2007, voters decisively rejected a different $18 billion proposal for mass transit projects. That proposal, tied to a series of road projects, was too big and complicated to pass, critics said.

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