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Seattle’s Sound Transit cleared the final steps of the environmental review process for extending light rail from the Northgate neighborhood in Seattle to Lynnwood in Snohomish County. The Federal Transit Administration recently issued its formal Record of Decision (ROD) for the Lynnwood Link light rail extension.

This important milestone completes the environmental review process, prepares the agency to move into the final design phase of the project early next year and takes the project one step closer to anticipated federal grant funding.

With the ROD in hand, Sound Transit can continue the process to compete for the federal funding that is necessary to help pay for the project. As part of that process, Sound Transit will take the next steps toward detailed design work on the 8.5-mile light rail line. The decision keeps the project on track to begin construction in 2018 and open in late 2023.

Trains will run along the I-5 corridor from Northgate to the Lynnwood Transit Center with stations at Northeast 145th Street, Northeast 185th Street and the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center at 236th Street Southwest.

The Lynnwood Link is estimated to carry 63,000 to 74,000 riders each weekday by 2035, with a trip from Lynnwood to downtown Seattle taking 28 minutes.

Sound Transit is also planning for potential future stations at Northeast 130th Street in Seattle and 220th Street Southwest in Mountlake Terrace. The light rail tracks in those areas will be built to accommodate construction of future stations without major impacts to service.

Cost estimates for the project range from $1.5 billion to $1.7 billion. A final budget will be established in 2017, with construction scheduled to begin in 2018 and open for service in 2023.

Lynnwood Link is the northernmost project of the more than 30 miles of Sound Transit 2 light rail extensions approved by voters in 2008.

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