Sound Transit to release report on light rail facility’s environmental impact

Two sites in Federal Way are under consideration.

A crew member works at the Sound Transit light rail Operations and Maintenance Facility in Seattle. Sound Transit plans to build a similar facility in either Federal Way or Kent. COURTESY PHOTO, Sound Transit

A crew member works at the Sound Transit light rail Operations and Maintenance Facility in Seattle. Sound Transit plans to build a similar facility in either Federal Way or Kent. COURTESY PHOTO, Sound Transit

Sound Transit will publish on March 5 the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the light rail Operations and Maintenance Facility South to be built in either Federal Way or Kent.

A draft EIS is an important milestone in determining where Sound Transit builds a project. The project’s draft EIS analyzes three potential sites: the Midway Landfill in Kent, and South 344th Street and South 336th Street alternatives in Federal Way.

The draft EIS helps Sound Transit evaluate near- and long-term impacts on the natural and built environment. In it, agency staff looks at how building on each of these sites would affect air and water quality, historical and cultural resources, nearby properties, ecosystem resources, cost, schedule and more.

Community input is vital to this project, according to Sound Transit. The 45-day formal comment period begins March 5 and ends April 19.

Sound Transit will host two online public meeting and hearing events, March 24 and March 30. These online meetings are an opportunity to get a project update, ask technical questions of the experts and register a formal comment. Information about how to register for the meetings and other information will be provided at a later date.

Sound Transit earlier this month reported that the estimated costs to build the new light rail maintenance facility have skyrocketed 54% to 77% in one year.

The estimated cost for the Midway Landfill site, west of I-5, is $2.4 billion. The landfill has been closed since the 1980s and is owned by Seattle Public Utilities. The estimated cost is $1.1 billion for each of the Federal Way sites.

The former Midway Landfill site has a higher construction cost than the other sites due to unique requirements to address ongoing ground settlement at the landfill and the complex structures required to support building on top of a Superfund site.

Sound Transit is constructing a 7.8-mile extension of light rail from SeaTac to Federal Way that is scheduled to open in 2024.

Resources for property owners

Property owners whose land may be affected by one of the three maintenance facility site alternatives will receive a letter with additional resources and information before Sound Transit publishes the draft EIS. If you receive this mailed notification, it does not mean that a decision has been made to purchase your property, but it does mean that there’s a possibility Sound Transit will need to purchase the all or part of the property in the future. If you have received a mailed notification and have questions, contact the agency at 206-398-5453.

Property owners will have a chance to review and comment on the draft EIS for this project from March 5 to April 19.


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