The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is providing nearly $173 million in low-interest loans that will reduce regional taxpayers’ costs to support the construction of the Hilltop Tacoma Link extension and the NE 130th Street Infill Station along the Lynnwood Link extension, according to Sound Transit's news release.
The loans will save taxpayers at least $26 million over the next two decades.
"These loans are an important federal investment in our shared commitment to build the regional transit network that will fuel future success," said Dow Constantine, Sound Transit Board chair. "We are especially thankful to Sen. Patty Murray and Sen. Maria Cantwell for their tireless work to help us realize that vision."
Under USDOT’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program, the Hilltop Tacoma Link extension would receive a loan of up to $93.3 million for the construction of guideway and track, the purchase of five light rail vehicles, expansion of the existing operations and maintenance facility, and pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements.
The NE 130th Street Infill station project would receive up to $79.3 million in loan funds for station construction, bus and paratransit transfer facilities, and sidewalk and bicycle infrastructure.
Scheduled to open later this year, the Hilltop Tacoma Link project more than doubles the length of Tacoma Link, starting with a relocated Theater District station, and adding six new stations. These connect to destinations such as the Stadium District, Wright Park, and major medical facilities before reaching the new Hilltop neighborhood terminus. Tracks run in existing road lanes and are compatible with on-street parking and existing bicycle facilities. Platforms are located in the center roadway.
The project also includes the expansion of the Operations and Maintenance Facility located on East 25th Street to accommodate five new light rail vehicles.
The NE 130th Infill Station was approved by voters in 2016 as an addition to the Lynnwood Link extension. The new station will serve a growing residential neighborhood between the Northgate and Shoreline South/148th stations. The NE 130th Street Infill Station is scheduled to open in 2026.