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King County Plans Eastside Trail, Rail Options With Proposed Land Purchase

How would you like to see the former Burlington Northern rail corridor used?

Eastside residents and commuters moved a step closer to having a regional trail system and future commuter rail options under the proposed King County plan to acquire nearly 20 miles of the Burlington Northern Eastside Rail Corridor.

The legislation, which County Executive Dow Constantine sent to the King County Council on Monday, dovetails with of 5.75 miles of the former Burlington Northern rail line that runs through the city.

“This agreement fulfills our promise to the region of preserving a public corridor through the most urbanized areas of east King County with our regional trail network,” Constantine said in a statement, transmitting the proposed purchase and sale agreement to the council.

Under the proposal, which the Port of Seattle recently approved, King County would have three years to reimburse the Port for the purchase price of up to $15.8 million. In exchange, King County would receive 15.6 miles of fee ownership and 3.9 miles of easement ownership in the corridor, through unincorporated King County and the cities of Renton, Bellevue, Kirkland and Woodinville. The proposed agreement would credit King County for $1.9 million it paid to the Port in 2009 for a multi-purpose easement in the corridor.

Constantine said he is exploring funding options from federal sources as well as the Conservation Futures Fund and a proposed renewal of the King County Parks Levy.

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