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May Urbanist Talk with Sound Transit CEO Julie Timm

Sound Transit CEO Julie Timm is our guest speaker in May. Timm took the reins in September after coming out on top in a national CEO search to replace Peter Rogoff. She left her post as CEO of Greater Richmond Transit Company to take the job.

She enters in a delicate but momentous time for the agency. Sound Transit will open 25 new stations over the next three years, and it’s also planning Sound Transit 3 (ST3) expansion projects that will take its light rail network to 116 miles, plus more than 50 miles of bus rapid transit. However, the projects set to open in the next few years have been beset with delays due to construction defects and other issues. East Link and Federal Way Link don’t have a firm timeline as the agency addresses those issues. Tacoma T Line streetcar is opening at some point in 2023, the agency promises, but it is behind schedule due to construction defects.

ST3 planning is also running into snags, with the agency pushing headscratching options like a 14th Avenue station location far from central Ballard and struggling to build a consensus for a station in Chinatown. And the whole thing is getting more expensive across the board due to inflation and failure to manage costs by project planners.

And then there’s the whole crisis around ailing escalators, elevators, and service quality.

The Urbanist editorial board offered the new CEO a to-do list to get Sound Transit on course. Righting the ship will be challenging, but Timm has shown a willingness to tackle problems and listen to feedback, so it may not be impossible. For example, Timm has responded with openness to advocates pushing her to study an Eastside-only starter line to open a portion of East Link sooner as construction defects along I-90 are fixed. The agency will be making a call on that front soon — and on a Preferred Alternative for Ballard Link.

We’ll get into all those questions and hear about Timm’s vision for the agency.

The line opens at 6:25pm. After the event, we’ll post the video on our website and YouTube page for those who can’t make it.

Register for the Zoom link below and suggest a question if you have one.


May 09 2023


6:25 pm - 7:00 pm