The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that its Build America Bureau has provided low-interest loans totaling $327 million to the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (Sound Transit) for improvements to the transit system.
By providing Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) Loans, the Bureau helps communities expedite infrastructure projects and reduce project costs.
“DOT's $327 million in loans to support Sound Transit’s light and commuter rail lines supports an alternative to car travel on congested roadways and improves connections to jobs, healthcare, and educational opportunities,” said Polly Trottenberg, Deputy Transportation Secretary. “Construction of these three new projects will reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality.”
Projects Financed Under TIFIA and RRIF Loans
The Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension (TIFIA loan for $93.3 million, 33% of total $282.7 million cost) will:
- Extend light rail line by 2.4 miles.
- Build six new stations and relocate one station.
- Purchase five new light rail vehicles.
- Improve bike/pedestrian infrastructure.
- Expand an operations and maintenance facility.
The Elevated Light Rail Platform Along Lynnwood Link Extension (TIFIA loan for $79.3 million, 33% of total $240.2 million cost) will:
- Build a new light rail station in North Seattle.
- Build new bus and paratransit facilities.
- Add sidewalk and bike infrastructure.
Sounder Access Improvements (RRIF loan for $154.2 million, 49% of total $314.6 million cost) will:
- Improve access for hundreds more people at three stations.
- Construct new sidewalks and improve street lighting.
- Expand existing, insufficient parking facilities for transit users without the ability to walk or bike to a station.
Sound Transit Sounds Off
“Sound Transit is our largest borrower, now at $4.17 billion,” said Morteza Farajian, Bureau executive director. “They are leveraging low-interest financing to build critical projects that will benefit passengers for years to come.”
Sound Transit estimates the loans will save $245 million through 2046, when the agency's voter-approved expansion plan is expected to be completed, and a total of $445 million over the entire life of the three loans.
“Strong partnership with the federal government is crucial to our success, and these loans signal a shared commitment to reinvest in the nation’s infrastructure and help us build the transit network our region needs,” said Dow Constantine, Sound Transit Board chair. “We thank USDOT and our congressional delegation for investing in residents’ future.”