The King County Council voted unanimously Monday to purchase a 15.6-mile portion of the Eastside Rail Corridor from the Port of Seattle for $15.8 million.
According to a news release, the county will have three years to pay the purchase price and, in exchange, will receive a fee ownership of 15.6 miles of the corridor and an easement ownership over an additional 3.6 miles.
The legislation, proposed by County Executive Dow Constantine in August, coincides with the City of Redmond's plans to build a 3.9-mile linear park along a portion of the former rail line that was purchased by the city in 2010, as well as Kirkland’s recent acquisition of part of the line there.
“By approving the public’s ownership of the Eastside Rail Corridor, we are planting the seeds for future generations of economic benefits through transportation options,” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague of Bellevue. “And also livability by expanding health and recreational opportunities within the trails of the corridor.”
Hague is the Chair of the Committee of the Whole which directed the Council’s deliberation on the ERC proposal.
The Eastside Rail Corridor runs from Snohomish to Renton along former Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks through the cities of Woodinville, Kirkland and Bellevue. Also included in the purchase agreement is a seven-mile spur between Woodinville and Redmond.
The county council envisions the Eastside Rail Corridor serving as a recreational trail for cyclists and pedestrians that would connect with other regional trails, such as the Sammamish River Trail in Redmond and Woodinville and the I-90 Trail in Bellevue. Light rail is also planned for a large segment of the corridor.
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