Originally published November 6, 2017 at 6:00 am Updated November 6, 2017 at 12:34 pm
If not reduced, the half-billion-dollar overrun might delay future light-rail extensions to Everett, or sink taxpayers deeper in debt. Already, the Lynnwood grand opening has been delayed at least six months into 2024.
Mike Lindblom By Mike Lindblom
Seattle Times transportation reporter
An astonishing $510 million.
How did the cost to build light rail from Northgate to Lynnwood increase so much since last year, with little warning?
Even by Puget Sound megaproject standards, that is real money.
Light rail costs soar
Sound Transit says four kinds of cost increases pushed Lynnwood Link’s $2.4 billion estimated price to $2.9 billion:
• Increased design and “scope creep,” such as larger stations: $150 million to $190 million.
• Higher land costs, due to 44 percent inflation and 190 more parcels needed: $100 million.
• New contracting method, to spend money earlier for final engineering: $90 million to $120 million.
• Construction market increases, due to high demand:$140 million to $190 million.
Source: Sound Transit briefings
Left untamed, a half-billion-dollar overrun might delay future extensions to Everett, or sink taxpayers deeper in debt. Already, the Lynnwood grand opening has been delayed at least six months into 2024, because of unstable federal funding and Sound Transit’s need to find a more economical design.
Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff raised the official estimate to $2.9 billion in August for the 8½-mile light-rail extension, called Lynnwood Link, up from $2.4 billion.
Our region’s hot economy is largely to blame. Property values alone shot up 44 percent since 2014, and construction costs soared. The price of masonry doubled, and escalators quadrupled, the agency says.
But there’s another reason: the inflation of desires.
During the nine years since voters said yes, cities and transit planners asked for a multitude of features that each might seem reasonable, but taken as a whole help put the original cost projections out of reach.More:
Imagine.... 8.5 miles of loot rail at the now bargain price of ONLY 2.9 BILLION DOLLARS!
This is the disaster that Rivers, Wilson, Harris, and Vick would foist on us.
There is no way to fix this, outside the standard "screw the taxpayers" shtick so beloved by RINOs.
By reopening the Pandora's Box of the CRC/Loot Rail scam, these fake Republicans are opening us up for additional hundreds of millions of dollars in costs that our children's children will be responsible for paying... long after we're all dead.
Keep informed. Be aware. "Republican" is nothing but a label. People like this make it meaningless.