Transfer of tunnel to Sound Transit approved

SEATTLE - The Metropolitan King County Council voted 10-2 yesterday to transfer ownership of the downtown bus tunnel to Sound Transit, allowing the light-rail project to move forward.

Under terms of the deal, King County will get $195.6 million from Sound Transit to use in transit projects. The county will keep about $65 million in property, including the Convention Place transit station. Sound Transit will take over in 2004 to convert the tunnel, which cost $480 million to build, from bus traffic to light rail.

Councilmen Rob McKenna, R-Bellevue, and Kent Pullen, R-Kent, voted against the deal, as a statement of their lack of faith on the light-rail project.