Rail

U.S. DOT announces intent to fund Sound Transit's light rail extension

Posted on December 18, 2019

Trains on the 7.8-mile light rail extension from Angle Lake in SeaTac to Federal Way will serve three stations along the route in Kent/Des Moines, at South 272nd Street and at the Federal Way Transit Center.
Sound Transit
Trains on the 7.8-mile light rail extension from Angle Lake in SeaTac to Federal Way will serve three stations along the route in Kent/Des Moines, at South 272nd Street and at the Federal Way Transit Center.Sound Transit

Members of Washington's congressional delegation announced actions by the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) to award a $790 million grant and $629 million low-interest loan to enable Sound Transit to start building light rail to Federal Way early next year.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) transmitted a $790 million Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) for Sound Transit's Federal Way Link Extension to Congress, starting a 30-day notification period. The action highlights that the Administration intends to execute the grant once the period is complete.

The U.S. DOT also formally notified Congress of its intent to close a $629.5 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan for the project, which represents the fourth and final loan under our $1.99 billion TIFIA Master Credit Agreement since 2016. The agreement will save regional taxpayers between $200 and $300 million in borrowing costs over the life of our bonds.

"A year ago, Sound Transit secured a $1.2 billion FFGA grant for Lynnwood Link. Now, we have secured a commitment from the Administration to also fund Federal Way Link thanks to the persistent efforts of our congressional delegation," said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff.

In advance of the FFGA approval, Congress approved $100 million in FY 2019 Capital Investment Grant funding that will represent the first installment of the grant.

Trains on the 7.8-mile light rail extension from Angle Lake in SeaTac to Federal Way will serve three stations along the route in Kent/Des Moines, at South 272nd Street and at the Federal Way Transit Center. Demolition and utility relocation work began this fall, and construction is set to begin in early 2020.

By 2021, Sound Transit will expand light rail to the U District, Roosevelt and Northgate. In 2022, Tacoma Link will expand to the Hilltop neighborhood. In 2023 trains will reach Mercer Island, Bellevue, and the Overlake area. In addition to the Federal Way Link Extension, 2024 will bring the opening of extensions to Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, and Downtown Redmond. From there, continuing expansions will focus on Tacoma, West Seattle, Ballard, Everett, South Kirkland, Issaquah, and Tacoma Community College, forming a 116-mile regional system by 2041.

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