$80 million for light rail included in President's FY 2005 budget
The Bush Administration's proposed FY 2005 Budget, released today, includes $80 million for Sound Transit's Central Link light rail project - the full amount the agency sought for FY 2005.
"We are very grateful for the Bush Administration's support. It's a significant endorsement of the changes Sound Transit has made and the benefits light rail will bring to the region," Sound Transit Board Chair and Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg said.
"Thanks to our hard work and the support of Sen. Patty Murray, Rep. Norm Dicks and other members of our congressional delegation, we are on track to significantly increase the capacity of the region's transportation system. Construction is underway and our momentum is growing," Ladenburg said.
Sen. Murray and Rep. Dicks are positioned to play key roles in securing congressional support for the FY 2005 funding. Sen. Murray is the senior member of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, while Rep. Dicks is a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee. Both played key roles in securing a $500 million full funding grant agreement (FFGA) from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for the Central Link light rail initial segment last year, as well as a $75 million FY 2004 appropriation.
"I'm pleased that the Administration's budget again includes the funding that Sound Transit needs to improve transportation throughout our region," Sen. Murray said. "I especially want to thank Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta and Federal Transit Administrator Jenna Dorn for making sure Sound Transit can fulfill its promise to Washington's commuters."
The issuance of the president's FY 2005 Budget kicks off the federal appropriations process. The proposed $80 million is the FY 2005 installment of the multi-year funding commitment that Sound Transit received through the FFGA. To date, Sound Transit has received $166 million of the FFGA.
Last year the Central Link initial segment was one of only two New Starts projects in the country to receive the FTA's "Highly Recommended" rating. The project will open in 2009 and is projected to move more than 42,000 people a day by 2020.
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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.