News Releases

I’m proud to join with so many transportation leaders today to announce the start of new Sounder commuter rail service between Everett and Seattle later this year. Today is a great day for our families, our businesses, our environment, and our future.

Anyone who’s been frustrated by traffic in the Puget Sound can take pride in this new service. Any business leader who’s been frustrated by Washington’s transportation problems, can take comfort in this new step forward. And anyone in Everett -- who’s wished for an easier commute to Seattle – will be able to hop aboard a Sounder train in just a few months.

This new train service means less congestion on our roads, less pollution in our air, and an easier commute for thousands of residents from Everett to Seattle.

This new service tells businesses that we are serious about fixing our transportation problems, and that we are making Washington state more attractive to employers.

Voters told us they want less congestion on our roads. Today, we say, “Sounder is on its way.”

Businesses told us that us that they want progress on Washington’s transportation problems. Today we say, “Sounder is on its way.”

And residents told us that they want a cleaner environment – where people have choices beyond driving to work. Today we say, “Sounder is on its way.”

For many years, we’ve been trying to expand commuter rail service from Seattle to Everett. The real turning point, however, came earlier this month.

I saw that we were reaching a critical point, and I realized that someone needed to bring all the parties together to make progress. I picked up the phone, called all the stakeholders, and invited them to come to Washington, D.C. I asked them to be here on May 7th and to be ready to do whatever it takes to deliver the rail service that voters have been asking for. They came. We met in my office in the Capitol building, and at the end of a long, honest discussion, we reached the agreement that we are announcing today.

I want to publicly applaud the many leaders who came together to make this happen. On the Sound Transit side, Ron Sims and Bob Drewel had the vision, and Joni Earl, Marty Minkoff, and Lonnie Blades had the drive to get it done. The ports were instrumental in helping us get here today. I want to especially thank Mic Dinsmore for his leadership and our partners, Andrea Rinniker of the Port of Tacoma and John Moore of the Port of Everett. And of course, the railroad was a key partner in our progress. Matt Rose was a straight shooter throughout this process. Every day he kept pushing and pushing to make this work. Matt is supported by a very capable staff that spent many hours on this. Skip Endress is here with us today. Skip has always been a friend to the Pacific Northwest, and he did amazing work throughout this process. Rick Weichert and Jeff Moreland with BNSF both spent considerable time and effort to get us here to today. There are so many more people – at every level – and in each of these organizations – that played a role in making this new service possible. I want to thank every one of them.

This is really about our future. It shows that together, we can build a brighter future for ourselves and for our children. These days, Washington is struggling with high unemployment, inadequate healthcare, and a stalled economy. This announcement shows that we have the vision and the strength to meet and resolve these challenges.

In fact, this announcement is just one of the many things we’re doing to improve our region. Earlier today, I had the privilege of attending the dedication of the California Street Bridge Overcrossing. That project will help improve mobility to and from the Port of Everett. I’m also working with local and state officials in an ongoing effort to make sure we build the new Mukliteo rail-barge facility.

Taken together, these projects mean progress. They mean a better economy, a better infrastructure, and a better quality of life. So congratulations to Everett and to Sound Transit.

Today we are delivering on the promises we’ve made to improve our transportation system. Sounder is on its way, and that is just the beginning of a better future for our region.