The American Public Transportation Association has named Sound Transit Board Member Greg Nickels Outstanding Public Transportation Board Member for 2009, recognizing his efforts to bring light rail to the Seattle region.
In 1988, Nickels, then a member of the King County Council, co-sponsored a measure leading to an advisory vote on building a regional light rail system. Voter support for the measure contributed to state legislation enabling the 1993 formation of a regional transit authority.
Nickels was appointed to the new agency's Board of Directors and was elected its first Finance Committee chair. The agency became known as Sound Transit following voters' 1996 approval of the Sound Move ballot measure.As chair of the Sound Transit Board's Finance Committee, Nickels supported efforts to move forward with light rail construction during the tumultuous period that led to securing the necessary federal funding. He was elected the Board chair in 2008.
Fellow Board members recognized Nickels for his leadership in advancing the $18 billion Sound Transit 2 ballot measure that regional voters approved in November 2008.
Nickels oversaw the opening of Link light rail service between Seattle and Tukwila in July of this year. Direct service to Sea-Tac Airport begins Dec. 19, and construction is underway to extend the system to the University of Washington.
Over the next decade and a half, the Sound Transit 2 measure will fund 36 additional miles of light rail to form a 55-mile regional system, along with expansions to the agency's popular Sounder commuter rail and ST Express bus services.