Back on Track: Sound Transit's Fight to Save Light Rail (Paperback)
Observing its busy stations today, it is difficult to imagine how close Sound Transit came to folding. By 1996 much of Puget Sound was choking on congestion, so it was a joyous day for many when voters in three counties approved a ten-year, $3.9 billion mass transit plan. But the agency's light rail estimates came in a billion dollars over budget and extended the project three years. A torrent of angry opposition followed. One by one, administrators resigned.
Then Joni Earl stepped in. The new executive director rallied team members, secured a crucial $500 million federal grant, publicly confronted critics, and presented a realistic revised budget. She and her team navigated lawsuits, complex demands made by impacted locations, and expanding expectations of outlying communities.
Earl, with support from Link executive director Ahmad Fazel and Seattle mayor Greg Nickels, delivered Sound Transit's promised light rail system in July 2009. A resounding success, its trains and buses annu.