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Councilmember Balducci’s Photos and Videos

View photos and videos of Councilmember Balducci's work in King County District 6.

East link starter line’s next step

Photo: Sound Transit

Summer 2023  |  Since Sound Transit announced delays to a full opening of East Link light rail in summer 2022,  I’ve championed the possibility of an early opening for an East Link Starter Line connecting Redmond to Bellevue while work continues to complete the light rail connection between South Bellevue and Seattle. Over the past few months, Sound Transit staff have diligently explored the concept and on January 26 the Sound Transit Board of Directors took a critical next step by a vote of 16-1 to fund additional planning, design, and construction activities necessary to further develop the East Link Starter Line option for a potential spring 2024 opening. In addition, the work funded by this vote will give the Sound Transit Board the necessary data and information to make its final East Link Starter Line go-no-go decision in fall 2023.

It’s clear that as the Eastside grows, we need great transit ASAP. And we're not alone; we also must commit to expediting light rail and bus rapid transit service to Snohomish County, South King County and Pierce County. You can review the meeting presentation about the progress in making the East Link Starter Line happen.

Budget responds to evolving needs

Map of King County with photos for Metro, Parks, Elections, Courts, Assessor, and the text Passed! King County's 2023-2024 Budget and web address

November 15, 2022  |  On November 15, the King County Council adopted a 2023-2024 budget that responds to the evolving needs and priorities of King County residents and advances several Eastside priorities, including: safe and sustainable homes and communities, transportation, and pathways to jobs.

The two-year budget makes major investments in some of our most important countywide priorities like $166 million to fund affordable housing near transit centers, supportive housing operations and coordinated crisis response efforts to homelessness; $220 million to continue electrification of buses; and $55 million for community safety, including efforts to reduce gun violence, new Metro transit security and community engagement staff, body worn cameras for King County Sherriff’s deputies, creating pathways away from jail for our youth and more. More about the budget and the significant investments in Eastside projects and organizations

Let’s make Eastside light rail a reality

August 29, 2022  |  The announcement that Sound Transit’s East Link light rail expansion will be delayed by at least a year came as a blow, but what if we could still open an Eastside-only starter light rail line connecting Redmond to Bellevue, or even to Mercer Island, in 2023? In short, we can and should.

Read my Seattle Times op-ed urging just that, supporting improved oversight and finding ways to build light rail faster and cheaper.

Protecting women’s rights

2022  |  In response to the US Supreme Court Dobbs decision that takes away the constitutional right to an abortion, on July 5, 2022 the King County Council voted on emergency legislation to allocate $500,000 directly to the Northwest Abortion Access Fund, an organization dedicated to helping people secure abortion care in the Pacific Northwest. Also, on Tuesday, I joined Executive Constantine who signed an executive order to that cooperate with out-of-state prosecutions of abortion providers and patients.

I am not backing down from this battle—personally and professionally. I will continue to do everything I can to make sure women have the right to determine the course of their own lives, including if and when to have children.

In the long term, we will have to fight a long and uphill battle to re-secure abortion rights for all Americans. In the short term, we need to support women whose rights, lives, and decisions have been abruptly upended by the Supreme Court's onerous decision. That’s what we did.

Women in transportation means better transportation

May 2022  |  I was honored to be named 2022 Woman of the Year by the WTS Puget Sound Chapter for how my work has advanced women and the reputation and credibility of women in transportation. WTS is a forum for discussing transportation trends and projects and highlighting women in the transportation field. It provides critical mentorship and support for the next generation of women transportation professionals. Throughout my career, I have benefitted from the mentorship and guidance of strong women leaders in transportation, so this award is especially meaningful to me. When women are part of designing and implementing our transit system, it works better for everyone. I am committed to doing my part to lift the next generation of women leaders in transportation.

Year in review: Together we did big things

2021  |  I donated a "retired" van to Global Social Business Partners (GSBP). GSBP is a food system and entrepreneurship incubator with a mission to foster entrepreneurship and social business innovation to solve social and environmental issues.

Despite the challenges of the second year of the pandemic, the King County Council accomplished a lot with and on behalf of King County residents in 2021. As chair of the Council, I’m proud that my colleagues and I passed over 350 pieces of legislation, approved $795 million in COVID-19 recovery and relief, approved several major plans to guide work into the future, and worked to support our communities with targeted grants and outreach. As a regional leader, my work extended beyond the County Council, and included working to keep Sound Transit projects on track and help ensure that climate, safety and equity were built into housing and transportation plans being developed by the Puget Sound Regional Council, where I serve as president.

Thanks to each of you for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas with me and the Council via emails, meetings, town halls and public comment at Council meetings. Read more for a selection of highlights from a busy 2021.

New shelter and housing funded

July 2021  |   When I was the mayor of Bellevue, I made a commitment with fellow mayors from Redmond and Kirkland to work together to provide a full suite of emergency shelter services for people experiencing homelessness on the Eastside – youth, women and families, and single men. After years of work with public and private partners and the community, we are adding the last piece of that commitment with a permanent men’s shelter in Bellevue.

In mid-July 2021, the King County Council unanimously approved the sale of surplus property in the Eastgate neighborhood for this purpose. Shortly thereafter, the Bellevue City Council approved $4 million for the project. These actions mean the finish line is in sight for the new facility, which will be the first and only permanent men’s shelter on the Eastside, and the first permanent supportive housing constructed on the Eastside. Thanks to the tenacity and dedication of Congregations for the Homeless and their partners, with critical support from local government, this project has become more than I could have dreamed. Read more about the new shelter and permanent supportive housing in the Seattle Times.

Transformational investments

May 2021  |  The $631 million COVID relief budget adopted by the King County Council makes truly transformational investments in King County. With these funds we will be able to continue our nationally recognized public health response to the pandemic and meet the needs of our communities, especially those communities of color that have historically experienced underinvestment.

At a high level, the investments are directed at the following programs:

  • Community supports (such as rental assistance, homelessness services and food assistance) - $256M
  • Getting more people vaccinated – $117M
  • Public Health response to the pandemic – $114M
  • Economic Recovery and Jobs – $67M
  • County Operations – $41M
  • Support for Arts, Entertainment, Culture and Science – $36M

I am excited to see the work that will done with these dollars, what outcomes we will achieve and the future we will build on this foundation of the COVID relief budget.