transportation

Local Wonder bill radke
KUOW Photo/Daniel Berman

Duvall, Carnation, North Bend, Snoqualmie and Covington all want to grow. The Puget Sound Regional Council, which oversees the growth and development of the region, says not too big and not too fast. Who gets to decide how rapidly a city grows?

Aubrey and Irene Beausoleil aren't afraid of transit oriented development. They just wish it wouldn't bury their home and community.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Irene Beausoleil and her husband recently moved to Pinehurst, just north of Northgate. She went to her very first community meeting just this week.

Beausoleil: “It’s the first time I found a community where I wanted to participate. Because I knew that I would be here for awhile. And it was at this meeting that I learned that there’s a very good chance that my house will be knocked down.”

 


Sound Transit's light rail shot from the SeaTac Airport Station.
Flickr Photo/Michael @NW Lens (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/9P9hnJ

It's official: Voters throughout the region will decide on a giant transportation plan on November's ballot.

The Sound Transit board unanimously approved the $54 billion ST-3 plan on Thursday.

It’s Union Pacific’s fault. That’s the basic thrust of a preliminary report from federal railroad regulators on Thursday. It investigates why a nearly 100-car oil train partially derailed and caught fire in the Columbia River Gorge on June 3.

OPB's Kate Davidson spoke to Sarah Feinberg, the head of the Federal Railroad Administration to learn more. The following exchange has been edited for clarity and brevity.

You can hear their full conversation by clicking play on the audio player at the top of the article.

Sound Transit bus.
Flickr Photo/wings777 (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/63X142

Kim Malcolm talks with growth and development reporter Joshua McNichols about Sound Transit's final proposal for ST3. The $50 billion transportation package will be decided on by voters this fall.

A new report from the Federal Railroad Administration released Thursday said Union Pacific is solely responsible for an oil train derailment earlier this month in the Columbia River Gorge.

The federal rail agency said in its preliminary findings that the derailment was caused by broken lag bolts that the railroad failed to maintain, which led to a widened track that caused the 16-car derailment.

“When it comes down to it, it’s Union Pacific’s failure to maintain its track led to this incident," said Sarah Feinberg, who heads up the Federal Rail Administration.

Union Pacific Locomotive Spills Fuel Near Troutdale

Jun 22, 2016

A 92-car Union Pacific train heading east spilled an undetermined amount of diesel fuel near Troutdale, Oregon, on Tuesday night.

The diesel leaked out of the locomotive. The cause was a fuel filter ring that failed, according to Justin Jacobs, a spokesman for Union Pacific.

The railroad has moved the locomotive to a location where officials can get a better sense of the amount of diesel that spilled.

Despite state and local calls for a moratorium, Union Pacific officials say they plan to resume sending crude oil through the Columbia River Gorge this week.

These would be the first trains carrying crude oil to pass on the Oregon side of the Gorge since the June 3 derailment in Mosier where 16 cars carrying crude oil left the tracks. The derailment spilled 42,000 gallons of crude oil and caused a fire that forced 100 people to evacuate their homes. The crash closed Interstate 84 for hours and left a small oil sheen on the Columbia River.

Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray at Capitol Hill’s light rail station.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

If you see an ad pushing the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure anytime soon, odds are it will have been paid for by a group that stands to make millions of dollars from ST3’s passage.

A stairway descends into Capitol Hill’s light rail station.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It’s been three months since two light rail stations opened in Seattle, bringing tens of thousands of riders to the system. 

But if you've had trouble with your cell phone down in those tunnels, here's why: There's no working network there yet.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (holding giant scissors) and other officials celebrate the opening of a light-rail station on Capitol Hill.
Flickr Photo/Sound Transit

The launch party for the two light rail stations was, in hindsight, “too much.”

The consultants, tote bags, security and ads – it added up to $858,000 of taxpayer money.

The Chetzemoka was placed in the water for the first time on March 2, 2010 in Seattle.
Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND) http://bit.ly/1V2AtiL

When you sink millions of dollars into a brand-new Washington state ferryboat, you hope it'll stay in good working order for years.

Just after noon on June 3, the two-man Union Pacific crew hauling 96 cars of Tacoma-bound crude oil felt a tug on the train as they passed through the Columbia River Gorge.

The train’s emergency brakes triggered unexpectedly, according to railroad union leaders, indicating bad track or equipment failure could be to blame. The crew looked back and saw smoke — the beginnings of a fire that would burn for much of the night.

The state of Oregon is delaying a decision on two permits submitted by the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas export terminal and pipeline project. The Oregon Department of State Lands says it will take another five months to make a decision.

A year before 16 of its oil tanker cars derailed and caused a fire, a spill and an evacuation order in the Columbia River Gorge, Union Pacific lobbied against stronger oversight of oil trains moving through the Northwest.

The railroad industry lost in Washington. But in Oregon, it won.

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