When voters passed Sound Transit's second phase in 2008, the package (known as "Sound Transit 2") included funds meant to study future light rail extensions. Just this September, Mayor-elect Mike McGinn said during the campaign that he wants to put light rail extensions on the ballot within two years. Seattle voters are big transit supporters; they're willing to support just about anything transit-related. If McGinn wants to get light rail to West Seattle and Ballard on the ballot within two years, Sound Transit will have to start these studies soon. The bad news? More than a year after voters unleashed the funds, the Sound Transit board hasn't made a decision on when these studies will start.
According to Sound Transit spokesman Geoff Patrick from, "The board is in a process to identify the timelines for implementing the different elements of Sound Transit 2, and they haven't established a timeframe for doing that study."
Are they considering whether to study these new light rail lines? "[That] would be a significant policy question that would need to go before the board as an item for discussion, and that hasn't occurred yet."
Sound Transit allows the their board—comprised of elected officials—to take the lead. Which is why the Sound Transit board is so important when it comes to pushing the agency to study new light rail lines other than those included in ST2. If Mayor-elect McGinn and City Council President Richard Conlin want to put light rail on the ballot city-wide within two years, it will take tremendous leadership, not unlike that shown by outgoing Mayor Greg Nickels when Hizzoner fought to put light rail on the ballot after it had failed the previous year.